Tottenham Hotspur have already been linked with a number of centre-backs ahead of the January transfer window, with Antonio Conte thought to be keen on strengthening his central defensive options ahead of the second half of the 2022/23 campaign.
Indeed, Spurs are rumoured to be interested in winter moves for the likes of Benfica’s Antonio Silva, Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar and Stefan de Vrij and RB Leipzig’s Mohamed Simakan, however, while any one of these players would undoubtedly make exceptional additions to Conte’s current options, it is arguably Kim Min-jae who would be the best fit for Tottenham’s side.
Having missed out on an €18m (£16m) move for the South Korea international in the summer transfer window, Gianluca Di Marzio recently revealed that the long-term Spurs target has a €50m (£44m) release clause that will become active at the end of the current campaign – something that could present Fabio Paratici with a second chance to land the 25-year-old.
And, while it would appear unlikely that Tottenham’s sporting director will be able to get a deal over the line for the 6 foot 3 colossus this January, considering just how impressive the defender has been this season, the Italian simply must do his utmost to land the 44-cap international in the summer of 2023.
Indeed, over his 14 Serie A appearances in the current campaign, the £31m-rated talent has been in imperious form, helping his side keep five clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.1 interceptions, 1.6 tackles, 3.9 clearances and winning 4.9 duels – at a success rate of 62% – per game.
The £54k-per-week centre-back has also caught the eye going forwards, hitting the back of the net twice, as well as making an average of 0.4 key passes, playing 3.5 long balls and completing 66.1 passes – at a success rate of 90% – per fixture – proving he is very much the type of ball-playing and progressive defenders Conte prefers in his backline.
These returns have seen the South Korean average a simply sensational SofaScore match rating of 7.22, not only ranking him as Luciano Spalletti’s sixth-best performer in the league but also as the 21st-best performer in the Italian top flight as a whole – an extraordinary feat considering he is still in the infancy of his career at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
Furthermore, Napoli sensation Khvicha Kvaratskhelia recently heaped a considerable amount of praise on the centre-back, stating in an interview with the Serie A YouTube channel:
“He is a very strong defender. For me, he is one of the best in the world. If he is in the defence, you are in front of an iron barrel! You know he will stop the attacker and will not let the opponents score. This is why he is an extraordinary defender, which is why he is one of the best in the world.”
And, with Min-jae set to star alongside Son Heung-min at the World Cup later this month, the 25-year-old looks set to truly announce himself on the world stage this winter, something that could easily see interest in the defender skyrocket.
As such, it would appear extremely advisable for Paratici to start laying down the foundations of a move for the centre-back as soon as possible, as the South Korean star would undoubtedly represent an exceptional addition to Conte’s current defensive options at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.