According to Steve Han, Lazio have been in contact with Chinese Super League side Beijing Sinobo Guoan F.C. regarding South Korea international Kim Min-Jae for the past few months. While the 23-year-old central defender was close to joining English Premier League side Tottenham, the Biancocelesti are currently believed to be in pole position to sign the player; they have made a €15 million offer for Kim and are awaiting a response from the Chinese club, as reported by Il Messaggero. This news comes to light after Spurs were set to make a $13 million bid for Kim. However, as Beijing Guoan wanted at least another $6 million (a total of ~$19 million or ~€16 million) before even considering to allow the player to leave, the Premier League club are said to have dropped their interest; Sky Sports Reporter Lyall Thomas said the deal between Tottenham and Beijing seems to have ‘fallen apart’ during his podcast.
As Lazio’s negotiation with Hellas Verona – regarding young Albanian starlet Marash Kumbulla – continues to drag on (for far too long), the Biancocelesti are said to have started to search the market in pursuit of other alternatives. Considering Kim is a more plausible option for the club (as they will not have to be in a bidding war like they are currently with Inter for Kumbulla), this is a transfer that could more than likely occur; especially as the Italian Serie A club will be playing in the UEFA Champions League in the 2020/21 season, in addition to the fact that they have recently entered the Asian market (by joining Weibo and WeChat).
Born in 1996, Kim spent his youth career playing for Suwon Technical High School (2012-2015) and Yonsei University (2016), before signing with South Korean third-tier side Gyeongju Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power in the summer of 2016. Following a year and a half spell at the club, he was acquired by K League 1 club Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors at the age of 20 in the winter of 2017; he won the K League ‘Rookie of the Year’ award in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons, which resulted in him being purchased for €5.25 million by Guoan in 2019. Since then, the defender has made 38 appearances for The Imperial Guards.
A towering central defender at 1.90 meters (6.23 feet), Kim has attracted interest from clubs worldwide, especially due to his performances with the South Korea National Team (30 caps). In addition to Lazio and Tottenham, Watford, Everton, Southampton, Porto, RB Leipzig, and PSV Eindhoven are all said to have expressed interest in the player in recent times.