Roma manager Jose Mourinho described Napoli center-back Kim Min-jae as a “top player” in a press conference Saturday as he called out his former club Tottenham Hotspur for failing to allow him to sign Kim two years ago.
“I wanted to sign Kim Min-jae when I was at Tottenham,” Mourinho said Saturday in a press conference ahead of his side’s Sunday clash with the Naples team. “I had some FaceTime calls with him.
“Our bid was 5 million euros, [Beijing Guoan] wanted 10 million euros ($11 million) for Kim and for Tottenham, that was n’t possible at that point. Now look at Kim and his level his, he’s a top player.”
Napoli star Kim was a Tottenham target for years, under Mourinho, Nuno Espírito Santo and Antonio Conte. The club tried to buy him during the Mourinho years when Kim played for Beijing Guoan in China, then again under Conte when he moved to Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig. 메이저놀이터
On neither occasion was Tottenham able to pull the trigger and the 26-year-old ended up going to Napoli for a reported fee of around 18.05 million euros. Six months later, elite European teams are lining up to try and trigger his release clause, reportedly around 45 million euros, this summer.
Kim is now a key part of a fiery Napoli lineup that have lost just one league game since April and only three games across all tournaments since the 2022-23 season began.
Kim’s defensive prowess has already been proven multiple times in Serie A and the Champions League, and a number of clubs including Manchester United are thought to be lining up to try and exploit that very narrow release clause in his contract expected to open next summer.
Napoli, meanwhile, are pushing to close the clause completely by negotiating a new contract with Kim just months after he joined the club.
While a defender’s success at a club is n’t necessarily easy to quantify, Kim’s impact his at Napoli is easy to see. The Korean center-back known as “the Monster” stepped into an already strong defensive line to replace Kalidou Koulibaly, who now plays for Chelsea and was considered one of the top defenders in Serie A.
With the addition of Kim, Napoli have conceded just 14 goals in 19 Serie A games so far this season, the fewest of any team in the league, which they lead by a clear 10 points.
As of press time the game against Mourinho’s Roma is yet to be played on Sunday, or at 4:45 am on Monday morning in Korea.