European scouts flock to watch Kim Min-jae in action: Reports
Korean center back Kim Min-jae looks set to spend another summer at the center of transfer rumors, with reports Tuesday that scouts from at least five top-flight European clubs attended his match on Sunday.
Portuguese journalist Pedro Sepúlveda reported Tuesday that scouts from Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea, Serie A club Juventus and Primeira Liga club FC Porto all attended the Fenerbahce game against Trabzonspor at Sukru Saracoglu in Istanbul on Sunday to watch the Korean center back in action.
At least three of those clubs have been linked to Kim in the past.
Kim joined Fenerbahce in August last year from Beijing Guoan, where he had played for two years. At the time, he had been linked to a number of top European clubs including FC Porto, Juventus and Tottenham.
Kim is a highly rated defender who offers a formidable physical presence in the backline that could see him hold his own against more physical players anywhere in the world. 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's absence at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — he was named as one of the wildcard picks, but his previous club Beijing Guoan declined to release him for the Games — left a devastating hole in Korea's defense and was likely a key reason the team fared so badly. He has 40 caps for the senior Korean men’s team and is one of the most consistent picks for that squad.
Interest in Kim from European clubs appears to have continued to grow since his move to Fenerbahce, where he has proven that his skills can comfortably transfer outside of Asia.
During this year's January transfer window, Fenerbahce reportedly turned down an offer from Italian club Napoli, and Premier League side Everton was also rumored to have put in a bid.
When the 2021-22 season ends, Kim will technically still have three years left on his contract with the Turkish club. But if the offers do start to flood in this summer, Fenerbahce will likely eventually take the money and allow Kim to move west to a higher-profile league.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]