Could Son Heung-min and Kim Min-jae face off in the English Premier League (EPL)?
Kim Min-jae has had a breakout season. After joining Napoli from Turkkiye Fenerbahçe ahead of the season, Kim established himself as Napoli’s first-choice center back in his first season in Serie A. He was a stalwart at the back all season long, helping the club win their first league title in 33 years.
Along with his team’s success in Serie A, Kim also had a stellar personal career. On February 2, the Serie A secretariat announced on its official channels that Kim was named the best defender in Serie A for the 2022-23 season. He was also named to the TOTS (Team of the season) list, which recognizes the best team of the season.
Big clubs are starting to move in on Kim’s form, with Manchester United being the most consistently linked to him, and they’ve been on a roll lately. Salvatore Caiaza, one of the most trusted sources for Napoli news, also broke the news of Kim’s move to Man United. “Kim Min-jae will go to Man United,” he said on Naples’ partner station ‘Kiss Kiss Napoli’ on May 5.
Following the Italian media, the English media also announced the imminent departure of Kim Min-jae to Man United. Citing reports from Italian media outlets Calcio Mercato and Calcio Napoli 24, the Daily Mail reported, “Kim Min-jae has already negotiated a transfer with Manchester United and is believed to be close to an agreement. Kim has already said goodbye to his Napoli teammates.”
However, it’s not just United who have been targeting the midfielder recently, but also Newcastle. On July 7, European soccer transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano said, “United have been monitoring Kim Min-jae since October, and his move to United is imminent, but Newcastle is still one of the candidates,” and British media outlet The Sun said, “Newcastle are looking to hijack United’s first target of the summer transfer market, Kim Min-jae. They are targeting the £42 million (approximately KRW 684 million) star.”
However, the most likely destination is still United. Enrico Pedele, Fabio Cannavaro’s former agent, lawyer, and sporting director, told Italian outlet Radio Marte: “Kim Min-jae has already left. He has already reached an agreement with Manchester United. Don’t worry, his move to Manchester United is almost complete.”
Meanwhile, if Kim does join the Red Devils, Korean fans will have a matchup to look forward to. It would be a matchup between United’s 먹튀검증 Kim Min-jae and Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min. Now in his eighth season in the EPL, Son could find himself facing off against Kim Min-jae as the latter’s transfer speculation continues to surge. In this case, Son is an attacker and Kim is a defender, so we can expect a direct head-to-head matchup.
In the history of the EPL, the ‘Korean League’ has faced off against each other several times. In the first Premier League match between Park Ji-Sung and Lee Young-Pyo, Park Ji-Sung stole the ball from Lee Young-Pyo at White Hart Lane, assisted the latter’s goal, and then gave Lee Young-Pyo a hand afterward, a scene that no soccer fan will ever forget. More recently, Son Heung-Min and Hwang Hee-Chan faced off in February last year. It was a 2-0 victory for Hwang and Wolverhampton.
There have been several Korean derbies, but if Kim Min-jae joins Man United and faces Son Heung-min, it will be the “greatest” Korean derby ever. Son Heung-min is one of the best strikers in South Korea’s history, and Kim Min-jae is one of the best defenders. It would give soccer fans another reason to stay up at night.