On Friday, Tottenham Hotspur fans on Reddit and social media (including us!) got excited when a plane took off from Beijing to London Heathrow that was reportedly carrying South Korean defender Kim Min-Jae. Kim has been a confirmed target for Spurs in this summer’s transfer window as they seek a young defender to replace Jan Vertonghen, and the 6’3” center half, nicknamed “Monster,” is both considered one of the best defenders in the Chinese Super League and a friend and international teammate of Son Heung-Min.
PLANE TRACKER SPURS FANDOM IS BACK LET'S GOOOOOOO— Cartilage Free Captain (@cartilagefree) July 17, 2020
Disappointingly, it turned out Kim wasn’t on the plane after all, and Kim’s presence at the airport was more likely him flying in from Korea than leaving China for the UK. The incident only served to highlight the excitement felt by Spurs Nation at the prospect of landing the Korean international. Few had heard of Kim outside of his home nation and China until recently, but his highlight videos have caught the attention of fans, as has his price, reportedly around £15m — a steal for a potentially excellent defender in the post-COVID football market.
However, the transfer from his current club, Beijing Guoan, to Spurs isn’t going as smoothly as thought. A new report from Sky Sports today by Lyall Thomas suggests that Guoan has put their foot down and is playing hardball, not willing to let their prized asset go.
Guoan apparently wants to keep ahold of Kim, who is currently in quarantine after returning to China from Korea, and play him in their season opener on July 27. The report states that the club is tough talking about not selling him at all, saying it would take a “big offer” to pry him out of China in the short term.
However, it’s not clear how much clout Guoan has when facing down the attentions of a major Premier League club like Spurs. It’s hard to get a sense of what’s really going on due to possible translation errors and the like, but I get the sense that the core of the dispute is, like so many other transfers, mostly about money. Specifically, from what I’m gathering Spurs are trying to offer Guoan a price that they deem too low for their best defender. That doesn’t mean, however, that a deal can’t be done. It just means that Spurs may not get him for dirt cheap.
Honestly, this all feels like posturing from Guoan. These things happen in any transfer — a club shows interest, the owning club sets demands, and things eventually work themselves out for a transfer. There’s not a whole lot of reason to think that’s not the case here, either.
Kim certainly looks like he’d be an exciting young addition to Spurs’ back line if they can get a deal across the line. This report feels as though it’s in response to the plane-tracker fervor from Friday, but we probably shouldn’t take it as though all future deals have fallen through. This is probably just the start of a long negotiation process.