Kim Min-jae arrives in Italy for medical, Napoli contract expected soon
Fenerbahce center back Kim Min-jae arrived in Italy for a medical with Serie A club Napoli on Tuesday, with a contract expected to follow at some point on Wednesday.
Kim was photographed arriving at a medical center in Rome on Tuesday afternoon, where he is expected to undergo the standard medical checks as a formality before signing with the club. Italian reports suggest the new contract is likely to be signed at some point on Wednesday, with Napoli expected to pay 20 million euros ($20 million) to Turkish club Fenerbahce in two installments within this year.
Kim's arrival in Napoli appears to end a long transfer saga that has seen the formidable defender linked with Napoli, French club Rennes and at least one Premier League club during this summer transfer window.
Kim has been a trade rumor favorite for years and this summer is no exception, but there had been concerns that a recent ankle injury might take him off the market. He has returned to form, however, and has been active in Fenerbahce friendlies over the last few weeks.
Kim, nicknamed "The Monster" for his unflappable defense, 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 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, especially during the 2017 Asian qualifier for the 2018 Russia World Cup.
During this year's January transfer window, Fenerbahce reportedly turned down an offer from Napoli, and Everton was also rumored to have put in a bid.
In March, scouts from Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea, Serie A club Juventus and Primeira Liga club FC Porto were all reported to be attending Fenerbahce games to watch Kim play.
Kim is likely to step straight into the starting lineup at Napoli, where he is expected to fill the gap created by the departure of Kalidou Koulibaly, who left the Italian club to move to Chelsea.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]