Jose Mourinho has revealed that he wanted to sign Kim Min-Jae during his time at Tottenham but the Lilywhites refused to pay the €10m (£8.7m) it would have taken to clinch the deal.
Kim has been a revelation since his switch from Fenerbahce to Napoli last summer, with the South Korean’s imperious displays at the back being one of the main reasons why Luciano Spalletti’s men have the best defensive record in the Serie A this season.
Reports over recent months have revealed that several Premier League clubs, including Spurs (CalcioMercatoWeb.it) and Liverpool (Il Mattino), have had their heads turned by the 26-year-old’s form in Naples this season.
Kim has seemingly been a long-term target for Tottenham, with the centre-back being linked with a move to the North London club last summer (Takvim) as well as back in the summer of 2020 when he was still at Beijing Guoan (Football.London).
Mourinho confirmed ahead of Roma’s clash against Napoli over the weekend that he had wanted to take the defender to Spurs.
The former Tottenham head coach said (via Fabrizio Romano): “I wanted to sign Kim Min-Jae when I was at Tottenham.
“I had some FaceTime calls with him – our bid was €5m, Fenerbahce wanted €10m for Kim and for Tottenham that wasn’t possible at that point. Now look at Kim and his level, he’s a top player.”
Mourinho clearly misspoke here as Kim was still at Beijing Guoan when he was in charge of Spurs, with the centre-back only making the switch to Fenerbahce in the summer of 2021.
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Kim’s rise over the last two years certainly makes this seem like a big mixed opportunity but it is important to remember that he was playing in the Chinese top flight at the time. There was hence a huge question mark over whether he would be able to adapt to the Premier League.
Besides, Fenerbache paid just €3m (£2.6m) to sign him from Beijing Guoan in the summer of 2021, which means that Tottenham were right to think that he was overvalued at €10m (£8.7m).
The bigger blunder is perhaps not snapping Kim up from Fenerbahce last summer but Conte evidently prefers players who are proven at the top level, which the South Korean was not at that point.
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