An adviser to Napoli and South Korea star Kim Min-jae has confirmed Tottenham were hoping to sign him earlier this year.
Kim spent time playing in South Korea and China before moving to Fenerbahce in August last year. He made 40 appearances for the club, helping them to finish second in the Turkish Super Lig.
The centre-back put in some impressive performances during his first season in Europe and this saw big teams emerge on his trail.
Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton were all thought to be tracking him at one point.
Soon it became Spurs who pushed the hardest to capture him from Fenerbahce.
However, Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici were left frustrated when the 25-year-old went on to join Napoli in late July.
According to transfermarkt, the deal was worth £16.25million. Kim signed a three-year contract at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.
The defender is set to represent South Korea at this year’s World Cup. There has recently been a documentary focusing on players from their national team.
In the show, Kim’s adviser Ho Lee was asked about clubs who pushed to complete a summer transfer.
Tottenham pursuit of Kim Min-jae confirmed
He confirmed Spurs were among the potential suitors for Kim, along with some big clubs from other countries.
“Inter, Juventus, Tottenham, Rennes and Roma have tried to sign Kim, and many clubs have held meetings on video,” Lee said (via Sport Witness).
The adviser then explained why Kim went to Napoli, ahead of Spurs, Juve and the other teams.
“But we wanted Kim to be able to play in a good team with a certain continuity, and that team was Napoli,” he added.
Spurs eventually brought in Clement Lenglet instead. The Frenchman moved to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on a season-long loan from Barcelona. As per Fabrizio Romano, there is no option to buy as part of the deal.
Lenglet picked up an injury early in his Spurs loan spell but is now back to full fitness. However, he is being kept on the bench by the likes of Cristian Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies.
Lenglet would ideally like to be a regular starter to improve his chances of playing for France at the World Cup. However, Conte seemingly views him as a backup centre-half.
Star right to choose Napoli
This shows that Kim and his representatives were correct when choosing Napoli over Spurs. In Naples, Kim has got off to a great start.
He has played every minute of the Serie A campaign so far, registering goals against Monza and Lazio too.
The 40-cap international also featured in Napoli’s recent Champions League win over Liverpool. He played alongside Amir Rrahmani at centre-back and helped to keep Liverpool’s centre-forward Roberto Firmino quiet.
The Reds did score through Luis Diaz, but they lost 4-1 on a night to remember for Napoli.
Kim will aim to continue his impressive start under Luciano Spalletti at Napoli. Should he have a couple of very successful seasons, then even bigger European teams may come in with bids for him.
And they would be inclined to make sure he is a regular in the starting eleven, rather than simply operating as a backup.
Meanwhile, Son Heung-min has admitted that he is starting to “laugh” at his Tottenham goal drought but has backed himself to soon return with a flurry of strikes.
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