Liverpool should be monitoring the progress of Napoli defender Kim Min-Jae with a view to a move next summer.
As per Il Mattino, the centre-back will have a release clause of £44m come into effect from July 2023. Given his performances since arriving in Naples in the summer, this should pique Liverpool’s interest.
The South Korean has been nothing short of a revelation in Serie A. Joining from Fenerbahce as Kalidou Koulibaly’s nominal replacement, Kim had some big old boots to fill.
But fill them he certainly has. It’s early days in the season, but so far, the 25-year-old has Napoli fans asking Kalidou who? Sitting top of the league table and fresh from battering Liverpool, Kim has been a major contributor in their excellent start.
Making it make sense
So what? I hear you ask. Liverpool are well-stocked in defence and need the whole budget to splash on their midfield revamp.
Both those things are more or less true, but the caveat is that Kim really does appear to be a pretty special defender.
Nearly twenty-six, he isn’t the youngest around. But to get him for such a relatively low fee while in his peak would be a great bit of business.
Besides, Joel Matip isn’t getting any younger and will be entering the final year of his contract next summer. Joe Gomez was horrendous in Naples and it still remains to be seen how he holds up after numerous injury issues.
As a result, perhaps Liverpool aren’t as covered in defence as initially thought. Bringing in a player of Kim’s quality to compete with Virgil Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate would be a big statement.
As for the midfield issue, well, Liverpool are going to have to be frugal as it is. Given the years of relative inactivity, there should be enough in the bank to cover a couple of signings, though.
Next summer appears to have been slated as the one where Liverpool may finally break the bank. If they do, it would be a good long-term strategy to make a move for one of the most impressive defenders in Europe this season.
If they don’t, then it looks like Manchester United may. According to Il Mattino, Kim has caught the eye of the powers that be at Old Trafford. Either way, expect to hear more on the South Korean as the season progresses. He’s a heck of a player.