South Korean defender Kim Min-jae,
who moved to Bayern Munich, is
taking a commemorative photo with
Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen.
[Photo provided by Bayern Munich]
Bayern Munich has completed the signing of South Korean defender Kim Min-jae from Italian champion Napoli for a reported fee of 50 million euros ($56 million).
The German football record champion officially announced the acquisition on Wednesday, with Kim putting pen to paper on a five-year contract that will keep him at Bayern Munich until June 2028. Kim will wear the iconic No. 3 jersey for the club.
Kim’s transfer fee of 50 million euros makes him the highest-ever transfer for an Asian football player. Additionally, the fee is the third-highest in Bayern Munich’s history, only behind Luca Hernandez (80 million euros) and Matthijs de Ligt (67 million euros).
In a statement release by Bayern, Kim said, “FC Bayern is every footballer’s dream. I’m really looking forward to everything that awaits me in Munich.”
A statement from Bayern CEO Jan-Christian Dreesen read: “Kim has developed excellently. He impresses with his physical presence as well as with his mentality and speed. We are happy that he can start preparing immediately and we are convinced that he will inspire our fans with his style of play.”
Initially, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle, and Paris Saint-Germain were linked with Kim, but Bayern Munich successfully won the race to sign the talented defender.
On July 6, Bayern Munich’s medical staff traveled to Korea to conduct medical tests at Severance Hospital in Seoul for Kim, who completed three weeks of basic military training as his mandatory military service. It was unusual to conduct medical testing outside of the club’s home region.
Kim’s rise to prominence has been swift.
Starting his career in the K-League with Gyeongju KHNP and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, he later moved to China’s Super League team Beijing Guoan in 2020.
After spending a single season at Fenerbah?e in Turkey, Kim’s value skyrocketed, leading to his move to Napoli. European media outlets estimated Kim’s salary at 12 million euros after taxes, which is a 4.8-fold increase from his 2.5-million-euro salary at Napoli last season.
The 26-year-old’s remarkable journey from running his parents’ fish restaurant in Tongyeong in South Gyeongsang Province to becoming a professional footballer is an inspiring story.
In his pursuit of supporting his family, Kim left Yonsei University in 2016 and played for Gyeongju KHNP FC for six months.
In 2017, he made his professional debut for Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, quickly establishing himself as a dominant force with his imposing physique (190cm tall, weighing 87kg), strength, lightning-fast pace, and skill, earning him the nickname “Monster Defender” in Korea. In Napoli, he was affectionately called “The Iron Pillar.”
In a statement, Kim also expressed his excitement about joining the new club, stating, “My first goal is to play a lot of games. In addition, I want to win as many titles as possible.”
By Kim Ji-han and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]