Liverpool have reportedly entered the race to sign Napoli defender Kim Min-jae, with Manchester United also interested in securing his signature this summer. The 26-year-old has been linked with several top clubs after an impressive season in Italy and a strong showing at the World Cup with South Korea. Tottenham, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain have also been mentioned as possible destinations for the centre-back, but it was thought that Manchester United were emerging as favourites to sign him.
However, Italian publication Rai has reported that Liverpool are now interested in signing Kim and could be willing to pay around £60m for him. This would be a remarkable rise for the South Korean, who only signed for Napoli from Fenerbache last year and is in his first season in Serie A. He had only spent one campaign in Turkey after moving to Fenerbahce from Beijing Guoan in 2021 but has done enough to attract a lot of attention.
Napoli are currently enjoying a sensational season, sitting clear at the top of Serie A and still in the Champions League, so there is no certainty that Kim would even want to leave. On international duty this month, he dismissed rumours of a move and said he is only focusing on what is to come with Napoli. “As you know, those rumours are not true at all. I want to focus on my team. I have many tournaments to play,” Min-Jae said after his country’s 2-2 draw with Colombia last week. “It’s been four or years I have had these rumours. It’s uncomfortable. I wish you don’t spread those stories. I cannot be bothered by transfer rumours because they aren’t true. Now I’m focusing on the team, rather than that kind of nonsense. There are so many important matches to go and right now I only want to focus on Napoli.”
Liverpool’s interest in Kim comes as no surprise given their recent defensive struggles. The Reds have been plagued by injuries to key defenders this season, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip all spending significant time on the sidelines. As a result, Liverpool have had to rely on makeshift centre-backs such as Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, and have struggled defensively as a result.
Kim would certainly provide a much-needed boost to Liverpool’s backline, with his impressive performances in Italy and for South Korea suggesting that he has the potential to become one of the best defenders in the world. He is strong in the air, quick on the ground, and has excellent positional sense, making him a formidable opponent for any striker.
However, Liverpool will face stiff competition from Manchester United for Kim’s signature. The Red Devils are also in need of defensive reinforcements, with their current centre-back pairing of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof failing to convince this season. United have been linked with several other defenders in recent months, including Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano, but Kim could be a more affordable option.
It remains to be seen whether Kim will actually leave Napoli this summer, but if he does, he will have no shortage of suitors. Liverpool and Manchester United are just two of the clubs interested in signing him, and it is likely that more will join the race in the coming months. For now, though, Kim is focused on helping Napoli continue their impressive season and is not letting transfer rumours distract him from that goal.