According to sources, Manchester United are continuing talks with Napoli defender Kim Min-jae, as well as their pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen full-back Jeremie Frimpong. The Red Devils are said to be interested in bolstering their defense ahead of next season, after their defensive weaknesses were exposed on many occasions this season.
United’s most recent inability to preserve a clean sheet came over the weekend against West Ham United, with Said Benrahma’s lucky early strike securing all three points for David Moyes’ side at the London Stadium. Erik ten Hag appears to be trying to speed his effort to improve United’s back four as a priority following the game, with things believed to be moving swiftly behind the scenes in terms of player recruiting.
According to Tuttomercatoweb, the Red Devils are in ‘advanced talks’ to sign Kim, while Sportbild reported earlier this week that talks have taken place to sign Frimpong from Bayer Leverkusen. Despite their recent Serie A title success, Napoli are expected to lose Kim, with United aiming to activate his release clause of about £43 million as early as June.
Kim has flourished since joining Napoli from Fenerbahce in the summer and is well regarded by those in charge at Old Trafford, though United are unlikely to be the only team vying for his signing when the season comes to an end. According to Calciomercato, Liverpool and Tottenham have also been keeping a close eye on the defender’s recent progress, implying that a three-horse race could emerge when the transfer window reopens next month.
It was recently reported that Napoli were eager to negotiate a new and improved contract with Kim in Italy, but everything currently looks to point to Kim leaving at the end of the season to chase a fresh challenge in the Premier League. It remains to be seen if United will be able to win the race for his signature in the near future, but they appear to be in pole position to do so ahead of his divisional rivals at the moment.
The 26-year-old was recently given the greatest compliment by Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti, who dubbed him the best defender on the earth and emphasized his excellent physical skills during their Serie A victory against Atalanta in March.
“Kim does at least 20 incredible things per game,” Spalletti said, according to DAZN. “In my opinion, he is the best center-back in the world.” When he starts running, he can get into the opposing penalty area in less than five seconds.”
Meanwhile, there is still a potential that Kim will reject down the chance to play in the Premier League in order to stay with Napoli, who recently won their first Italian title since 1990 by drawing with Udinese last Thursday. When asked about the possibility of a move in December, he was quick to dismiss the idea, but only time will tell if his opinion changes as United intensifies their efforts to finalize his capture.
“There are a lot of transfer stories around me, but I’ve only been at Napoli for six months,” he explained to You Quiz on the Block. “One of the reasons I’ve avoided interviews is that the rumors about me bother me.”