Arsenal battle Man Utd for ‘best centre back’ Min-jae as Napoli fears realised

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews the Nottingham Forest game

Arsenal have now reportedly joined the race for Napoli centre-back Kim Min-jae. Manchester United are also being linked with the player and are said to have held talks about a possible deal in recent weeks.

According to 90mins, Napoli are doing everything they can to persuade the South Korean defender to re-sign with them before a release clause in his current contract comes into play. The clause is expected to kick in for the first two weeks of July and the fee is thought to be somewhere between £35million and £52m.

Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti sees Min-jae as a crucial part of his long-term plans and recently described the player as the ‘best centre-back in the world’. “Kim does at least 20 incredible things per game For me, he truly is the best centre-back in the world,” he said back in March. 

“When he starts to run, he can get into the opposition penalty area in five seconds flat.”

The Gunners are on the lookout for reinforcements in the centre of their defensive line. Gabriel Megahales and William Saliba have been outstanding at the back all season but when they are out of the side Arsenal look vulnerable.

Despite Jakub Kiwior showing signs of promise at the back end of the campaign, it is thought that the north Londoners are aiming to snap up a player in the position that is ready to add competition for Gabriel and Saliba. Min-jae has been one of the most important players in Napoli’s Serie-A winning season and won two Player of the Month awards last year- which is particularly rare for a player in his position.

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At 6ft 3 and 84kg, he is an imposing presence and would suit the physicality of the Premier League well. Besides his outstanding defensive attributes, he is also well-versed with the ball at his feet and is among the fastest defenders in the world.

Signing Min-jae will be even more important for Arsenal if they chose to let Rob Holding go in the summer. Journalist Dean Jones told GiveMeSport earlier this week that Holding is in ‘danger’ of being sold – which is not surprising considering he has only featured 14 times for Arsenal in the Premier League this season.

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