Manchester United in ‘advanced talks’ with Kim Min-jae after West Ham defeat

Ten Hag expresses disappointment as Man Utd lose at Brighton

Manchester United are pressing ahead with talks over a summer move for Napoli defender Kim Min-jae alongside their ongoing pursuit of Bayer Leverkusen full-back Jeremie Frimpong, according to reports. The Red Devils are thought to be keen on strengthening at the back in advance of next season, with their defensive fragilities having been exposed on multiple occasions over the course of the current campaign.

United’s latest failure to keep a clean sheet came against West Ham United over the weekend, with Said Benrahma’s fortunate early goal claiming all three points for David Moyes’ side at the London Stadium. It seems as though Erik ten Hag is looking to accelerate his bid to improve United’s back four as a priority in the wake of the fixture, with things said to be moving quickly behind the scenes in terms of player recruitment.

The Red Devils are in ‘advanced talks’ over a move for Kim, according to Tuttomercatoweb, while it was revealed earlier this week by Sportbild that discussions have also taken place regarding the capture of Frimpong from Bayer Leverkusen. Napoli are thought to be resigned to losing Kim in spite of their recent Serie A title triumph, with United planning to activate his release clause of around £43million by as early as June.

Kim has excelled since joining Napoli from Fenerbahce over the summer and is keenly admired by those in power at Old Trafford, although United are unlikely to be the only club in the battle to secure his signature when the campaign draws to a close. Liverpool and Tottenham have also been keeping a close eye on the defender’s recent progress, according to Calciomercato, which suggests that a three-horse race could emerge when the transfer window re-opens next month.

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It had recently been claimed that Napoli were willing to enter into talks with Kim over a new and improved contract in Italy, but everything now appears to be pointing to an exit at the end of the season in order to pursue a new challenge in the Premier League. It remains to be seen whether United will be able to win the race for his signature in the not-too-distant future, although they are seemingly in pole position to snap him up ahead of their divisional rivals as things stand.

The 26-year-old was recently given the ultimate compliment by Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti, who labelled him the best defender on the planet and underlined his impressive physical qualities after their victory over Atalanta in Serie A back in March.

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“Kim does at least 20 incredible things per game,” Spalletti told DAZN. “For me, he truly is the best centre-back in the world. When he starts to run, he can get into the opposition penalty area in five seconds flat.”

Meanwhile, there remains a chance that Kim himself could turn down the opportunity to test himself in the Premier League in order to continue with Napoli, who recently clinched their first Italian title since 1990 by drawing with Udinese last Thursday. He was quick to play down the speculation over his future when quizzed on the prospect of a move back in December, but only time will tell if his mind will eventually change as United continue to intensify their efforts to finalise his capture.

“There are a lot of transfer stories around me, but I’ve only been at Napoli for six months,” he told You Quiz on the Block. “I’ve avoided interviews, and one of the reasons is that the rumours about me disturb me.”

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