At the time of the transfer market last summer, Kim Min-jae (27, Naples) was not likely to go to Naples. France’s Stade Rennes actively promoted the recruitment first, and it was even reported that he had agreed to the actual transfer.
Maybe Kim Min-jae had to play the French Ligue 1 stage instead of Italian Serie A this season. It was Chelsea in the English Premier League (EPL) that changed Kim Min-jae’s fate. Napoli sent a love call to Kalidou Koulibaly (32), whom Napoli had to transfer to recruit Kim Min-jae.
Italy’s Tutonapoli said on the 2nd (Korean time), “At the time, due to Napoli’s finances, Koulibaly’s transfer was necessary to recruit Kim Min-jae. Fortunately, Chelsea promoted the recruitment of Koulibaly, and thanks to this, Napoli agreed to the transfer with Rennes.” I was able to convince Kim Min-jae to wait and not sign a contract.”
Fortunately, Koulibaly left Napoli for Chelsea on July 16 last year for a transfer fee of 38 million euros (approximately 51.1 billion won). Napoli, which made money from the transfer fee, immediately started a match to recruit Kim Min-jae, who was a member of Fenerbahce (Turkiye) at the time. In the end, just 10 days after Koulibaly left, he spent 18.05 million euros (approximately 24.3 billion won based on Transfermarkt) to embrace Kim Min-jae.
Sending Koulibaly away and recruiting Kim Min-jae became Naples’ one-of-a-kind move. Immediately after the transfer, Kim Min-jae became one of the best defenders in Europe as well as in Italy Serie A and made a big success. From Kim Min-jae’s point of view, he entered Naples, not Ren, which is smaller than Naples, and can look forward to winning the big league title.
Local analysts say that Chelsea’s decision to recruit Koulibaly and its timing became a decisive factor in Kim Min-jae’s transfer to Naples. At the time, the transfer agreement with Rennes was completed, so if Chelsea’s recruitment of Koulibaly was even a little late, Kim Min-jae would have been wearing Renn’s uniform, not Napoli’s.
The media also added, “Fortunately, Chelsea jumped into the recruitment of Koulibaly in earnest in mid-July.”