Manchester City are ahead of bitter rivals Manchester United in the race to sign Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae, according to reports.
Pep Guardiola is looking to bolster his defence in the transfer market. Now, it seems the Cityzens have made signing the 26-year-old their priority.
Min-jae has been one of Napoli’s most important players this season. So, they will not let the defender leave cheaply.
Indeed, the centre-back has made 33 Serie A appearances this term, helping Napoli secure their first league title since 1990, with five games to spare.
In the process, Min-jae has helped keep 16 clean sheets so far and scored two goals. His fine performances have caught the attention of many top clubs, but a move to the Premier League seems most likely.
A release clause in his deal – which is active from July 1-15 – allows overseas clubs to prise him away for a fee of around €52m (approx. £45.6m) this summer.
As noted by TEAMtalk, Man Utd are heavily interested in the South Korea international. But, Chelsea also have Min-jae on their radar.
In fact, they are reportedly willing to use Kalidou Koulibaly and Christian Pulisic as makeweights to convince Napoli into doing business with them instead.
Man City plot Min-jae move
However, according to agent Vincenzo Morabito, it is Man City who are leading the race to sign Min-jae this summer.
Speaking to Kiss Kiss Napoli, as cited by Sport Witness, Morabito said: “The fans shouldn’t get angry.
“It’s normal that we talk about the transfer market now. Kim? I think Manchester City is more likely than United.”
This comes amid reports coming out of Italy stating that Man City are firmly in the race for Min-jae. So, there certainly seems to be something to this story.
As mentioned, Guardiola is keen to sign a new centre-back this summer. Aymeric Laporte has been heavily linked with a move away from the Etihad, with Tottenham and Barcelona interested.
As a result, the Cityzens will need to bring someone in to replace him and Min-jae is an excellent option.
Strong, good in the air, competent with the ball at his feet and experience in winning trophies – Min-jae has everything Guardiola looks for in a defender.
As mentioned, the Napoli star has a release clause of around £45.6m. So, if Man City meet that amount, it will simply be a case of convincing Min-jae to join them, ahead of Man Utd and Chelsea.