‘Kim Min-jae (26-Bayern Munich)’ finally a reality, ‘epic saga’ with a happy ending, German media ‘explode with anticipation’

‘Kim Min-jae (26-Bayern Munich)’ is a reality.

It’s official. A historic moment has unfolded, with the signing of a South Korean player who is likely to become a starter at the top clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich, symbols of Europe’s elite. ‘Monster’ Kim Min-jae is finally a Bayern Munich player.

The Bavarians announced the signing of Kim Min-jae from Napoli through the club’s official channel on July 19 (KST). The contract is for five years, until 2028. He will wear the number 3 jersey. Kim became the second South Korean player to join Bayern after Chung Woo-young (Stuttgart).

The transfer fee was not disclosed, but it is estimated to be around 50 million euros ($71 million). Kim Min-jae had a buyout clause when he signed with Napoli, which is said to be €50 million. It could be more, as there are reports that the transfer fee has increased slightly due to recent negotiations with Napoli. What is certain is that it is the highest transfer fee for a Korean player and the highest transfer fee for an Asian player. The previous record for a Korean player was €30 million ($42.6 billion) for Son Heung-min when he joined Tottenham in 2015, and the previous record for an Asian player was €35 million ($49.7 billion) for Shoya Nakajima when he joined Alduhail.

Kim became the third most expensive player in Bayern’s history, behind Luca Hernandez (€80 million-$113.6 billion) and Matthias Der Licht (€67 million-$95.1 billion).

CEO Jan-Christian Driessen said: “Kim Min-jae improved a lot last season, leading Napoli to the title. He was named the best defender in the league. He is very impressive physically, mentally and with his speed. We are delighted to have him with us for the preseason and his style will delight our fans.”

Head coach Thomas Tuchel added: “We are very happy to have him on board. He is a good person, in perfect condition and ready to play. We are very happy that he has decided to join us,” said Thomas Tuchel. “He is a great signing. It wasn’t a problem to give him a few more days off, but he didn’t want to. It shows how professional and focused he is,” he added.

Kim immediately joined the team and started training. “I’m excited to be in Munich,” he said on the team’s official social media, “but I’m very shy right now,” he added with a slight smile. He was greeted by Dayo Upamecano, Konrad Reimer, Serge Gnabry, and Kimmich as he was riding his bike. We had a short conversation.

The Bayern fans also gave Kim a warm welcome. The Bayern social media accounts posted a video of a number of fans asking Kim for an autograph as he was leaving the training center. Kim was happy to oblige.

On the same day, Bayern won a friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt 27-0. Jamal Moussaouiallah, Marcel Xavier, and Mathis Thiel all scored five goals apiece. Serge Nabry scored a hat trick.

Kim Min-jae arrived in Munich on the 18th. On the 18th, Germany’s Bild published a photo of Kim Min-jae at Bayern’s training center. Kim was dressed in a suit and looked around the training center. Bild wrote, ‘Bayern’s third freshman is coming. Kim Min-jae has arrived in Munich,” and added, “Together with CEO Jan Christian Dresden and two colleagues on the training ground, he headed to the Bayern office. Kim Min-jae has signed until 2028. After taking a break from military training, Kim left for Germany with his agent on the 17th. Instead of traveling directly to Munich, Kim arrived in Munich via Frankfurt.

Fabrizio Romano, one of the most authoritative sources in the European transfer market, also reported, “Kim Min-jae has just arrived at the Bayern training center. He will be announced as the new Bayern signing. The buyout clause was triggered 10 days ago. He underwent a medical in Korea. The contract has been finalized,” he said, adding, “Here we go.

German media outlets quickly picked up the news of Kim’s arrival in Munich. Sky Sports’ Florian Plettenberg posted on social media, “Kim Min-jae will join the team tonight. He has already arrived in Munich. It’s not 100% clear yet, but he will join the training camp soon. Plettenberg is considered a first-tier Bayern journalist.

Sport also confirmed that “Kim Min-jae has arrived in Munich and is expected to arrive in Tegernsee shortly”. Tegernsee is an Alpine town in southern Germany on the Austrian border and is home to Bayern’s training camp. Bayern have already started training in Tegernsee.

The day before, Bayern CEO Juergen Driesen had made the Rafael Guerrero-Conrad Reimer signing de facto official at a press conference. The local press asked about the still-unannounced signing of Kim Min-jae. “He’s an exciting player and of course we want him to join our team,” Driessen said, “but we’re not ready to make an announcement yet. I think it will be in the next few days.” It’s rare to hear a high-ranking club official mention a player by name when he hasn’t been officially signed. In effect, it means a signing is imminent.

Fabrizio Romano, one of the top authorities on the European transfer market, also said on his social media account on the 18th (KST) that “despite the recent rumors, there is no problem with Kim Min-jae heading to Bayern.” “Kim Min-jae underwent a medical on the 8th and is already a Bayern player as Bayern triggered his buyout clause. He continued, “There is no problem, just an issue with the contract documents. The official will come soon,” he concluded.

France’s Foot Mercato also reported, “Bayern’s signing of Kim Min-jae is imminent. After weeks of long negotiations, Kim Min-jae will be able to wear a Bayern shirt. An agreement was quickly reached, a buyout payment was agreed upon, and the final terms of the transfer were agreed upon. “It’s a done deal,” he said, “Kim Min-jae’s move to Bayern is finalized and an official announcement is expected this weekend. There are no obstacles to the transfer.

There have been multiple reports that Kim Min-jae’s move to Bayern has been finalized. Napoli coach Rudi Garcia directly mentioned the farewell to Kim Min-jae. On the 16th, Romano published a direct quote from Garcia. Garcia said, “We know that Kim Min-jae has left. It’s really sad, but I want to keep all our players. I’m sure Victor Osimhen wants to stay at Napoli. He is happy here and wants to achieve a lot.”

At the same time, Napoli’s preseason schedule does not include Kim Min-jae. Napoli announced the 26-man roster for the preseason in their official homepage, and Kim was not among them. Victor Osimhen and Hvitsa Kvarachelia will join the squad at a later date.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel also mentioned Kim Min-jae. In his first press conference of the pre-season on July 15, Tuchel did not directly mention Kim, but said that the transfer was “technically” imminent, a topic of interest to Bayern fans in Germany and beyond.

When asked if the Korean will arrive as a replacement for Luka Hernandez, Tuchel replied, “We want to get the right replacement for Hernandez. It’s not a big secret who will replace Luka,” Tuchel said, “but it’s probably better not to mention the name right now because it might not help us in the negotiations.” “We will try to announce (the signing) in the next few days,” he added, hinting at the imminent arrival of “Kim Min-jae Official.

However, there have been some questions about the lack of an official release. There is a reason. On the 16th, Germany’s Bild reported, “The reason why Bayern won’t announce a buyout for Kim Min-jae is simple. It’s a complicated legal situation due to the Napoli situation.” “Still, the transfer will undoubtedly take place. Kim will accompany us from the Asian tour,” the report said.

Il Matino was more specific: ‘Bayern’s signing of Kim Min-jae is complete. Many are wondering why the Bavarians waited so long until the final day,” he said, adding, “Everything is of unbelievably jumbled proportions. This includes the bonus that will be paid to the South Korean club that trained Kim Min-jae, so the amount of the buyout that will be paid to Napoli is constantly changing.

“The reason for the delay in announcing Kim Min-jae’s transfer to Bayern is a matter of strategy for Bayern,” said renowned agent Enrico Pedele, “It seems that the club is trying to save money.” “Napoli wanted to add a small bonus and a sell-on clause,” said Foot Mercato, “Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis wanted to get a little more than the buyout amount for Kim Min-jae, and they did it.

In fact, the process is already over. Romano announced the end of the Kim saga early on. On September 9, Romano announced on social media that “Bayern have completed the buyout payment for Kim Min-jae. Napoli will receive around €50 million including tax. Now we just need to complete the signing and the official will appear. Romano added the words ‘here we go confirmed’ to the post, which is the sign he uses when his ‘here we go’ sign hits the mark. ‘Kim Min-jae will sign as a new Bayern player after completing his medical in South Korea,’ Romano had said a few days earlier. ‘The buyout clause will be activated shortly,’ he added, declaring the deal complete.

Upon his release from basic military training on June 6, Kim continued his schedule to finalize his move to Bayern. It was a medical test. Romano said on his social media account on May 5 that Kim would undergo a medical in South Korea as soon as he was discharged. Plettenberg also tweeted: “Kim will complete his medical in Korea. The Bayern team doctors have arrived in Korea and are preparing for the medical.

There were reports that the medical was postponed, but it was held on the 6th. The local German media called it “the craziest medical test in Bayern’s history.” That’s how much they wanted Kim Min-jae. After the successful conclusion of the medical, as expected, Bayern paid the buyout and finalized the process.

Initially, Kim Min-jae’s move to Man United seemed to be finalized. Specific salary and transfer date were revealed, and there were even reports that the move to Man United was confirmed. The Italian Il Mattino reported, “Kim Min-jae has completed preparations for a move to Man United. If the buyout amount is paid, he will join on July 1. The Sun said, ‘Kim Min-jae’s transfer to Man United has been confirmed,’ and ‘Kim Min-jae is Man United’s first signing this summer and will officially join on July 1.

Kim has been linked to United for over a month. With the Rafael Varane-Lissandro Martinez duo at the back, the Red Devils have been plagued by durability issues. Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly have also been plagued by frequent injuries. With the signing of Kim Min-Jae, the club clearly wants to have a championship defense. That’s why Eric ten Hagg had him in his sights. However, the Red Devils have been faced with a number of issues, including the release of Harry Maguire, who is on a huge wage bill, and most importantly, the acquisition of the out-of-favor defender.

Meanwhile, Bayern have stepped up to the plate. On the 15th, when Kim went to military training, the tide turned. Plettenberg’s report was the beginning. Santi Auna, Romano, and other influential journalists took the initiative, especially Thomas Tuchel, who was eager to sign Kim. According to Bild, Tuchel even had a direct video call with Kim Min-jae. Tuchel, who had previously worked with Koo Ja-cheol and Park Joo-ho, is said to have actively appealed to him.

The terms of his move to Bayern were also good. His salary is expected to reach 10 million euros after taxes. Under German tax law, which takes a 45% tax cut, that’s about €18 million before taxes. Even in the big star-studded Bavarian league, that’s a lot of money. In addition, the agent’s fee is expected to be more than 15 million euros (about $21 billion). With a five-year contract, Bayern will spend at least €147 million ($206.3 million) on Kim.

Bayern could spend big on Kim by getting rid of Hernandez. Hernandez wore the jersey of Paris Saint-Germain. The transfer fee is said to be €45 million. It’s practically the same price as Kim Min-jae’s transfer fee, so they didn’t have to spend a fortune to add a younger, more talented player.

Bayern were prepared to overhaul their defense this summer. This season, Mathias Der Licht has been anchored by Dayo Upamecano and Fabar in the center. It wasn’t quite enough. Hernandez was plagued by frequent injuries. Bayern wanted to get rid of Hernandez and Fabar, who were still on the market, and bring in a new defensive signing. That was Kim Min-jae.

The closer we got to the signing of Kim Min-jae, the more attention the German media paid to him. Everything from the spelling of his name to the details of his life were highlighted. ‘Sport1’ reported on February 2, “He was known as Min-jae Kim in Germany, but unlike in the West, in Korea, the surname comes before the first name. His full name is Kim Min-jae, not Min-jae Kim. In Korea, the first name is usually two syllables and the last name is one syllable,” he said. “Kim is one of the most common surnames in Korea. Along with Lee, Park, and Choi, it accounts for 50 percent of all Korean surnames,” he said, adding, “Unlike Son Heung-min, who wears his surname (Son) on his jersey, Kim Min-jae wears his surname (Minjae) on his jersey. Finally, Sport 1 also explained that Kim Min-jae is one year younger than Son Heung-min, as the Korean age calculation system changed on June 28. In reality, Kim Min Jae, whose birth date is November 15, is two years younger, from 28 to 26, as of the first day,” and introduced the Korean name in detail.

On the third day, the program focused on Kim Min Jae’s past. Based on his past interviews, they introduced specific episodes. From the experience of driving seven hours in his father’s fish truck from Tongyeong, Gyeongnam, to the Paju National Training Center (NFC) to join the U-17 national team in 2012, to the tattoos on his body, including “Carpe diem,” “Never stop dreaming, time won’t wait for you,” and the image of Jesus holding a cross.

Earlier, we focused on Kim Min-jae’s performance. The praise was unanimous. Kicker called him a ‘perfect center back’ and praised him for ‘making 20 amazing plays in a game’. ‘At 1.90 meters, he has big size, strength, and speed,’ Kicker said, ‘He’s fast, strong in the tackle, and a beast on the ball. He will be a great fit for Bayern. He also praised his build-up play. ‘He was the player with the most forward passes in the top five European leagues in the 2022-2023 season and the third most passes,’ Kicker said. ‘He was the only defender alongside Antonio Rudiger not to concede a dribble in the European Champions League in 2022-2023’ and ‘healthier than Hernandez, who has been plagued by injuries, big and small, including a torn cruciate ligament in his knee’.

Sport had a similar assessment. Sport compared Hernandez to Kim Min-jae and said he was a much better defender. “Kim played 3050 minutes in Serie A last season. But Hernandez played 2030 minutes even in his best season, 2021-2022,” giving him the edge in durability. He also favors Kim in aerial battles and speed. Sport said, “Kim Min-jae uses his physicality to win headers. He won 2.69 headers per 90 minutes, compared to 1.77 for Hernandez,” and “He reached a top speed of 34.2 kilometers per hour in the European Champions League. Hernandez’s was 33.4 kilometers. ‘Bayern have brought in a player of more than Hernandez’s quality,’ said Sport.

From Jeonbuk Hyundai, to Beijing Guoan, to Fenerbahce, to Napoli, to Bayern, Kim Min-jae’s rise has been nothing short of dramatic. After his best years at Fenerbahçe, Kim joined Napoli last summer. After losing ‘legend’ Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea, Napoli chose the Korean center-back, who had been at the top of his game for a season at Fenerbahçe. Napoli paid a buyout clause of €20 million to acquire Kim Min-jae, who had been actively courted by Stade Rennes, in a move that bordered on a hijacking.

In just one season, Kim has conquered Italy. With little time to adjust, he became the first Asian player to win the Serie A Player of the Month award in September. In an aggressive Luciano Spalletti style of play, Kim has done an incredible job with his aggressive defense. For his unwavering defense, Kim was named the Serie A Best Defender of the 2022-2023 season. He is the first Asian player to win the award, which was first established in the 2018-2019 season. It is also the first time in history that a member of the winning team has won the award. Kim became the “best defensive player” in Italy, the “home of defense,” the country that gave birth to the combative defense. Kim was also named to the official Serie A Team of the Year, reaffirming his status as one of the best players in Serie A this season.

Behind the brilliance of Kim Min-jae, Napoli won their first league title in 33 years. It was only the third time Napoli had won the title since the 1986-1987 and 1989-1990 seasons, when the late legendary Diego Maradona played. Kim Min-jae became the first Korean to win the Scudetto. In Europe’s top five leagues, he is only the third South Korean to win the trophy after Park Ji-sung of Manchester United and Jung Woo-young of Bayern Munich. It is the first for a defender. It is also the first time an Asian player has won the Serie A title since Hidetoshi Nakata of AS Roma in the 2000-2001 season.

Kim Min-jae is considered the best center back in the world, even beyond Italy. Fabio Cannavaro, Alexandro Costacurta, and other legends followed suit. Along with Man City’s Jubeng Dias and John Stones, Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo, and Real Madrid’s Éder Militant, he was called the best center back of the season. Despite only having one season under his belt, he’s in Napoli’s all-time best 11. His incredible performances have kept him on the radar of big clubs throughout the season, and his value has only increased over time. His price tag has risen to €60 million on TransferMarkt. It was the highest price ever paid for a South Korean player, even higher than Son Heung-min.

Throughout the summer, Kim has been linked with big clubs such as Manchester United, Man City, Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain. It was a saga of epic proportions for a Korean player. The battle for Kim Min-jae was heated until the very end. There were even hijacking attempts from Manchester United and Newcastle. But in the end, it was Bayern.

Kim Min-jae took to social media to say goodbye to Napoli fans. He wrote, “Hello Kim Min-jae, I’m sending this message to all Napoli fans who have shown me love and support over the years. I would like to thank you for helping us win our first league title in 33 years since the late Diego Maradona era. I want to thank my passionate club Napoli, Coach Spalletti, my teammates, and most of all the Napoli fans. Wherever I am, wherever I go, I will remember and support Napoli, thank you. Forza Napoli Sempre,” he said. 안전놀이터

Kim went on to thank the Bayern fans as well. He said, “Bayern is every player’s dream. I was looking forward to coming to Bayern. It’s a new beginning for me. I will continue to develop here. It was clear from the start how much they wanted me. My first goal is to play a lot of games. In addition to that, I want to lift as many trophies as possible,” he said on joining the club.

The German media is already excited. The Bundesliga’s website described Kim as ‘the next Jaff Stam’, while Kicker said that ‘the number three he wears is worn by legends such as Paul Brightner, Vicente Lizarazu and Lucio’.

After landing Kim Min-jae, Bayern’s next targets are Kyle Walker and Harry Kane. Bayern have already approached both players. In the case of Kane, the Bavarians are in a nerve-wracking battle with Tottenham. Local media are reporting that a personal agreement has already been reached. The Bavarians have been active, from former president Uli Hoeneß to Tuchel. Tuchel has reportedly traveled to London to meet with Kane and convince him to stay. Bayern have already made two bids, but Tottenham have rejected them. Spurs are reportedly looking for more than £100 million. But with Kane wanting to go to Bayern and only having one year left on his contract, there’s a good chance they’ll let him go. Bayern also have high hopes in this area.

Paris Saint-Germain, with Kylian Mbappe likely to leave, have entered the race for Kane, but they’re keeping him to themselves. Rudi Galletti, a European soccer transfer market expert for Sport Italia, wrote on social media: “Kane only wants Bayern, there is no doubt about it. As reported in January, Kane has already reached a verbal agreement with Bayern and wants to join them. The UK’s Telegraph also reported the same day that ‘Kane is not interested in a move to Paris Saint-Germain. Paris Saint-Germain have recently made a bid for Kane, but he will reject their approach. Tottenham will go head-to-head with Bayern for his signature.

Adding Walker to Kane would give Bayern a formidable lineup. The back four, in particular, is an all-time great with speed, strength, and skill from Alfonso Davies to Kim Min-jae to Der Licht to Walker. A desperate Bayern will have the strength to challenge for the treble. It’s all about the Kim-Min-Jae effect.

Kim Min-jae will start his Bayern career on the 23rd. On the 23rd, the team will hold a team presentation event to announce their preparations for the 2023-2024 season. At the event, Kim will greet fans alongside new signings such as Guerrero and Reimer.

The team will then embark on a tour of Asia. Bayern will play preseason games in Japan and Singapore this summer. The Bavarians will begin with a match against European champions Manchester City in Tokyo on the 26th, followed by a match against Kawasaki Frontale of the Japanese J-League on the 29th. The match against another ‘monster’, Elling Holland, is sure to attract a lot of attention in itself. Holland rewrote English Premier League scoring history in his first year at City with an incredible run of goals. City completed their first ever treble. On August 2, they travel to Singapore to face Liverpool. The Reds have Virgil van Dijk, who has been compared to Kim Min-jae, and will be in the spotlight once again. Kim is expected to make his debut on the Asian tour.

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