Kim Min-Jae met with Manchester United representatives last week, shortly after returning from World Cup duty with South Korea.
The news comes from Italian journalists Antonio Corrado and Mimmo Malfitano, who spoke during Campania TV Program Fuorigioco (Quotes via AreaNapoli).
“I can tell you that there was a meeting between Kim and his entourage with a foreign club at the Paradiso hotel in Naples during the week before the match against Udinese,” said Corrado.
“I couldn’t find out the name of the club. Whoever gave me the news, told me the news, told me they spoke in English, but couldn’t get the name of the club.
“It’s no coincidence that Napoli immediately took steps to renew the player’s contract and eliminate the release clause,” he said.
Malfitano, who writes for Gazzetta dello Sport, added, “So I’ll tell you: the club in question is Manchester United.”
That bombshell is likely to please fans, who will no doubt have seen the defender’s excellent performances in the Champions League as well as his qualities at the World Cup.
Kim was part of the South Korea side that defied expectations by qualifying from Group H ahead of Uruguay and Ghana.
While he did not personally have the best of tournaments, his league form has ensured that he is already considered among the best centre halve playing in Italy.
The defender is imperious in the air while also possessing the pace to match the likes of Mohammed Salah and Darwin Nunez, as he demonstrated in Napoli’s 4-1 victory over Liverpool back in September.
With the possibility of Harry Maguire being sold in the summer only increasing after his impressive World Cup, United will likely need to go to market for another defender at the end of the season.
That is only compounded by Raphael Varane’s injury issues. While the Frenchman is undoubtedly a world-class centre back, since he misses a number of games every year it is imperative that Ten Hag has genuine competition for places at the back.
With a €45m release clause in Kim’s contract becoming active for two weeks in July, this appears to be a deal that United could get done with relative ease that would genuinely improve the squad.