Replacing Kim Min-jae was a ‘mission impossible’ from the start… Napoli president knew about it three months ago
Finding a replacement for Kim Min-jae may have been a mission impossible in the first place.
Kim was at the top of his game last season. In just his first season in Serie A, he established himself as Napoli’s first-choice center back and became Luciano Spalletti’s number one option. His natural physicality and speed, along with his steady defense and build-up play, helped lead Napoli to their first league title in 33 years.
Kim also swept individual awards for his tremendous performance. He was named Serie A’s best defender for the 2022-23 season by the Serie A secretariat, and he was also named to the TOTS (Team of the season) list, which recognizes the best teams. In his first year with the club, Kim couldn’t have asked for a better season, winning the league title, being named the best defender and the best team.
As he continued to perform at the top of his game, a number of big clubs were interested. Manchester United, Newcastle United, and Manchester City were among the clubs that wanted to sign him. With so many competing clubs, his salary naturally started to rise and he became one of the best defenders in Europe.
Man United were the first to get close to Kim. Since the beginning of the season, the Red Devils have been keeping a close eye on Kim and even sent a scout to Napoli, and recently, the possibility of a move to United has been raised. Last month, Italian outlet Il Matino reported, “Kim Min-jae has agreed to join United. “The club is already in talks with the player and brokers have convinced him to move to the English Premier League (EPL),” the Italian outlet reported.
However, the transfer speculation quickly shifted to Bayern Munich. The Bavarians were more definitive and specific in their negotiations than United. Santi Auna, who writes for French outlet Foot Mercato, said last month, “Kim is on Munich’s list. There have been talks since last week. The player himself is open to a move to Munich.”
Since then, negotiations have progressed rapidly. Fabrizio Romano, one of the most authoritative voices in the European soccer transfer market, also provided daily updates on Kim. Eventually, an official announcement was made. On July 19 (KST), Munich announced the signing of Kim on their website. Munich went out of their way to welcome him. Along with the official announcement, the club also posted a behind-the-scenes video of the medical test in South Korea, proving that the club had put a lot of thought into the signing. 메이저놀이터
Upon joining Munich, Kim immediately earned the trust of head coach Thomas Tuchel. When he arrived at the training center, Tuchel told him, “I’m glad you’re here, and I know you’ll do well.” He was impressed. It was a moment that showed how much Tuchel wanted him and how much he cared about him.
He then accompanied the team on their pre-season tour and made his Munich debut in the first 45 minutes against Kawasaki Frontale in Japan on September 29. Although it wasn’t an official match, Kim played in a center-back combination with Benjamin Pavard.