Here’s everything you need to know about Tottenham and Kim Min-Jae
Tottenham Hotspur have found a new center back pairing, in Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier, but Spurs still have a need for depth at the position and South Korean Kim Min-Jae has been named as a potential target. Toby Alderweireld is 31, Juan Foyth is on the outs, and Jan Vertonghen is out of contract at the end of the season. With a clear need and a fresh rumor, who is the footballer Kim Min-Jae?
Basics on Kim Min-Jae
Kim Min-Jae is a 23-year-old South Korean center-half, rightly nicknamed “Monster” standing at an imposing 1.9 meters or 6 foot 2 inches for Americans. A pro since 2016, leaving college to join Gyeongju KHNP making 17 appearances in his only season in the Korea National League.
In 2017 Kim Min-Jae moved to the K League 1 earning young player of the year honors at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. In two seasons, he made 60 appearances across three competitions scoring 3 goals and cording 2 assists, making the K League 1 top XI in both his seasons with the club. This past year he moved to Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League, recording two assists in 34 games.
Involved with the South Korean Senior National Team since 2017, he has already made 30 appearances for his country, adding 3 goals. Like his countryman, Spur Heung-Min Son, Kim Min-Jae was part of the South Korean team who won the AFC Asian Cup – meaning exemption from military service – making the all-tournament team. Which KMJ followed up by earning Best Defender honors at the East Asian Championships in late 2019 – a tournament Son skipped.
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Kim Min-Jae has only 111 professional football matches to his name and none nearly at the level of the Premier League, so there are clearly some questions about his experience.
While 30 games with a senior National Team is impressive, 16 of the 30 are friendlies and despite debuting with the national team in 2017 KMJ missed the World Cup run with a broken leg.
Despite this lack of experience KMJ is growing and has some genuine talent. While a nickname like monster might cause one to think of someone a bit slow of foot, Kim Min-Jae has some quick feet and a flair for the dramatic. Watching his highlight films, you see a player brimming with confidence who is equally comfortable in the air or with the ball at his feet.
KMJ’s aerial ability is not limited to his head, reminiscent of Paul Pogba, the young defender is willing and able to bring in the ball out of the air equally well with his chest or thigh. And like Harry Maguire Kim Min-Jae is adept at attacking the ball with his head and is improving in his ability to leverage that skill to score on corners and set pieces, as he did for Korea in the Asian Games.
Beyond his aerial prowess, KMJ is unafraid to take chances with the ball at his feet. While one might consider this a bit reckless – Vlad Chiriches comes to mind – Jae has tremendous strength and his difficult to knock off the ball while maintaining excellent close control. Honestly, watching him with the ball at his feet reminded me a big of Moussa Dembele, then I saw a highlight of him taking the ball from none-other than Dembele himself. Add in the ability to knock the ball from 18 to 18 with just a half-step of space and suddenly you have a defender that could even play as a true defensive midfielder – something Spurs currently lacks.
True Tottenham Transfer Target?
When it comes to transfers, you just never know and it is very likely that the financial losses from the Covid-19 break along with the stadium debt, Spurs are not going to have a ton of money to spend. From that perspective, Kim Min-Jae is a real possibility, as he is not likely to cost a ton. Add in the fact that having a second player from South Korea can only further the growing popularity of Tottenham in Asia and it is a transfer that makes sense. Whether to learn as a back-up to Sanchez and Dier or to serve in the Matic role, Jose Mourinho’s side is currently missing, it is a transfer that makes sense.