Tottenham Hotspur are in a period of transition in their back line. Longtime defensive stalwart Jan Vertonghen is almost certainly leaving the club at the end of the season, and the latest reports suggest that Argentine reserve Juan Foyth may be close behind. That leaves Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez, and Eric Dier as the three main players in the CB stable, with Japhet Tanganga as an option and Ben Davies able to deputize there if needed.
That’s may not be enough, and there are now rumors that Spurs could potentially sign a new CB from an unlikely source. According to two Chinese outlets — Titan Sports and Xinhua Net — Spurs are currently “in talks” with 23-year old Korean international defender Kim Min-Jae, who is currently playing for Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan.
Kim has earned the nickname “Monster” and it’s pretty easy to see why — he’s a big boy. Wikipedia has him listed at 6’3”, and while some sources say he’s 190 lbs, on the footage I’ve seen he looks like he’s at least 220-225. He’s established himself as one of the best defensive players in the Super League. Sure, you may say “but it’s the Super League” but considering his age and the amount of talent that has eventually ended up there, that’s still pretty high praise.
According to the press, Monster has been attracting interest from all over, including RB Leipzig, Inter Milan, Southampton, Porto, Lazio, and elsewhere.
Here’s his obligatory YouTube video.
So the sizzle reel not only shows a defender who knows how to put in a good tackle, but also one who’s good with his feet and also in the air on set pieces. He’s clearly not afraid to go to the ground when he thinks he needs to, and he sure looks like he has a good Toby-esque long-ball in him as well. Think a 200 lb David Luiz, back before David Luiz turned into... you know, Arsenal David Luiz. “Monster” seems pretty accurately named.
Internationally, he has 30 caps and three goals for South Korea, making him a regular teammate of Son Heung-Min. And that right there is probably not only the reason why Spurs are taking a long look at him, but also why Titan Sports is saying that Spurs are the favorites to sign him this summer. It’s not hard to guess that Spurs asked Sonny for recommendations on his Korean teammates that might do well in England, and having someone like Son around would certainly make Kim’s transition easier.
I have no idea what the transfer fee would be — it isn’t mentioned in the reports, but considering that Korean players apart from a couple haven’t gone for a ton of money and players from the Chinese league often aren’t that expensive, it probably wouldn’t be a ton.
So: big dude, position of need, Korean friend of Sonny, nicknamed “Monster,” fairly reputable Chinese news sources. My friends, I’m all the heck in.