Spurs and Chelsea both interested in 'The Monster' Kim Min-jae
Kim Min-jae of Beijing Guoan could become the next Korean footballer to make it in the English Premier League (EPL), with multiple reports saying that both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are interested in the defender.
According to the Mirror, Spurs are "weighing up a bid" for the Korean star, known as The Monster, and are likely to step up efforts after reports that Chelsea are also interested in Kim.
Spurs have been linked to Kim since last year, when the London side was said to be looking to sign him during the summer transfer window. Although that deal didn't work out, Spurs are said to still be interested and now even more keen to sign Kim before their local rivals get a chance.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho has criticized his own defense in recent games, adding to expectations that the team might be looking to bring in the Korean to anchor the back line.
With Kim's contract with Beijing set to end later this year, the Chinese side are also likely keen to set up a deal while they still have him on the books.
Kim started his professional career with Gyeongju Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power FC in Korea's third-tier K3 league in 2016, quickly moving up to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC in the K League in 2017. With Jeonbuk, Kim won the K League title in 2017 and 2018 and was named the K League's Young Player of the Year.
Even before Kim's move to Beijing in 2019 he was linked to the EPL, with Watford FC reportedly interested in signing him. Both Spurs and Liverpool were also reportedly interested in the rising star at different points that year.
Kim has 30 caps for the senior Korean men's team and appeared for the U-23 team eight times, including at the 2018 Asian Games.
Kim's international performance has gained him a lot of attention, earning him the nickname The Monster for his ferocious defense during the 2017 Asian qualifier for the 2018 Russia World Cup.
Kim has also proven that he has more to offer than just solid defense, scoring three goals for the Taeguk Warriors over the years, including a big header against China at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
With the EPL's January transfer window set to close on Feb. 1, Kim may well be heading to the Premier League in the next few weeks.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]