The speculation surrounding Tottenham Hotspur’s rumoured approach for Kim Min-Jae is showing no signs of slowing down.
Spurs have been backed to complete a €15million (£13.5m) deal for the centre half this summer (The Sunday Mirror – 21/06/2020, page 72).
Here’s all you need to know about the defender:
Club: Beijing Guoan
Nationality: South Korea
Position: Centre-back (Comfortable playing on both sides of central defence)
Playing Style: As is obvious from his nickname, ‘the monster’, Kim has an extremely combative style and is aggressive in trying to win the ball. He always plays the game with intensity and looks to dominate the strikers he is up against. Kim not only looks to win the first ball but also tries to ensure that his side retains possession by looking to play out from the back.
Strengths: Ariel prowess, physicality, acceleration, passing
Weaknesses: Always looks to win the ball early rather than dropping off on occasions, which might be risky against better players who could potentially turn him.
Career Highlights: Kim joined Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, one of South Korea’s biggest clubs, when he was just 19 years of age. He was named K League Young Player of the Year and nominated for a part of the K League Best XI in his first season in the Korean top flight.
His performances for Jeonbuk saw him break into South Korea’s senior side, for whom he has been capped 30 times so far. After an impressive couple of seasons in his home country, the centre-back was snapped by Chinese Super League club, Beijing Guoan. The defender has only played one season in China so far but has already established a reputation as one of the best centre-backs in the division.
Risk: One potential risk with the transfer is that Kim seems fairly injury-prone despite being just 23 years of age. The centre-half suffered a semilunar valve injury in his first season at Jeonbuk before a hairline crack in calfbone put him out for a considerable portion of the subsequent season. From the nature of the injuries he suffers, it does seem like Kim’s blood-and-thunder playing style is to partly to blame.
Additionally, it is pretty apparent from watching video highlights of the centre-half’s time in China as well as in South Korea that he finds it almost too easy up against the opposition he comes up against. This means that he often takes more risks than necessary after winning the ball as he looks to get his team on the front foot. This might be a part of his game Kim has to iron out as he is likely to be up against far better players in the Premier League
Potential Upsides – Kim seems to have all the necessary physical attributes to play in the Premier League. It is only a matter of ironing out the risky parts of his game so that he can maximise his qualities. For the rumoured £13.5m price, signing him could potentially be a masterstroke if the centre half adapts to English football.
Even if he does not end up performing as well as expected on the pitch, signing him could be very lucrative commercially for the club. I would not be surprised if the club managed to recoup a significant portion of transfer fees in the form of shirt sales back in South Korea. Signing him will also help the club consolidate their brand presence in the country.
Players with Similar Styles: The one Premier League player Kim is most similar to in his style is Harry Maguire. Like the Manchester United captain, the 23-year-old is dominant in 50-50 duals but also capable of stepping out with the ball at his feet. Like Maguire, he is deceptively quick and is capable of handling the ball in tight areas. However, his tendency to try and win the ball means that he will have to be paired with a more conservative partner like Toby Alderweireld rather than someone like Davinson Sanchez, who also looks to win the first ball.
Spurs Web Take: All things considered, we at Spurs Web believe the potential upsides to this transfer outweigh the risks. This looks like a deal that is definitely worth pursuing. However, this sounds very much like a Daniel Levy signing than a Jose one. So as long as the Spurs boss is on board with the idea, it would make sense for us to bring Kim Min-Jae to North London.
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