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Napoli insiders 'expecting Kim Min-jae to join Manchester United'

Napoli insiders 'expecting Kim Min-jae to join Man United'
© Reuters
Napoli insiders expect to lose central defender Kim Min-jae to Manchester United this summer, according to a report.

Napoli insiders are reportedly expecting to lose central defender Kim Min-jae to Manchester United during this summer's transfer window.

The 26-year-old joined the Blues from Fenerbahce last summer, and he enjoyed an impressive 2022-23 campaign, featuring on 45 occasions in all competitions, scoring twice and providing two assists.

Kim is suspended for Napoli's final Serie A match of the season against Sampdoria, so his final appearance of the campaign came in the 2-2 draw with Bologna on May 28.

The South Korea international played a leading role in his team's title-winning Serie A season, while he also featured on nine occasions in the Champions League, with Luciano Spalletti's side reaching the quarter-finals of the competition before losing to AC Milan.

Kim was crucially suspended for the second leg of the last-eight clash with Milan, though, which the Red and Whites drew 1-1 to record a 2-1 aggregate success.

Napoli's Kim Min-jae pictured on November 12, 2022© Reuters

The defender's future has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, with a number of clubs believed to be interested in signing him.

Man United have seemingly emerged as the favourites for the South Korean, though, and according to Gazzetta dello Sport, he is expected to move to Old Trafford this summer.

The report claims that 'insiders' around Napoli 'take it for granted' that the centre-back will swap the Italian giants for the 20-time English champions ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

Kim's release clause is believed to be €50m (£43m), and an announcement from Man United will reportedly occur in the early stages of July.

Napoli's Kim Min-jae in action with AC Milan's Junior Messias in September 2022© Reuters

The defender started his professional career with Gyeongju KHNP before moving to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, and he then represented Beijing Guoan ahead of a switch to Fenerbahce in 2021.

Man United are currently well-stocked in the middle of their defence, with Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof all regulars this season, but club captain Harry Maguire is widely expected to leave due to his struggles for starts.

Phil Jones's departure has already been confirmed, while Axel Tuanzebe is also set to leave on a free transfers, and Eric Bailly, who has been on loan at Marseille this season, is not in Erik ten Hag's plans.

As a result, there will be space for another central defender at Old Trafford, with Kim seemingly being identified as the English club's leading target in that area of the field.

The defender has won three titles at club level, lifting two K League 1 trophies during his time at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors before securing the 2022-23 Serie A title.

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