Napoli’s Kim Min-jae replacement plans: Who are their four transfer targets?

Serie A champions Napoli won't have an easy time trying to defend their title next season, and one of their most pressing issues this summer is trying to sign a replacement for Kim Min-jae after his Bayern Munich move. Who are they targeting?

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After selling South Korea international Kim Min-jae to Bayern Munich, Napoli are assessing several defenders that can replace the centre-back. The 26-year-old was an outstanding performer in the Partenopei defence, helping the Southern Italian club win their first scudetto since 1989/90, and he also was voted the best defender in Serie A for 2022/23. His assured displays drew the attention from the best clubs in Europe, and the German giants purchased him for €50 million.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Napoli’s preferred choices are Lens defender Kevin Danso as well as Max Kilman from Wolverhampton Wanderers, but there are multiple alternatives being considered if they cannot acquire any of those two.

Napoli’s defensive transfer targets

Kevin Danso – Lens

Born in Austria to Ghanaian parents, the 24-year-old has been with Lens since 2021 and he played an instrumental role in earning the French club qualification for the Champions League for the first time since 2002/03. Danso possesses great strength as well as great pace, and he can play in multiple positions in defence.

He is interested in a move to Napoli, but the Partenopei consider his price tag of €30m to be too high. Napoli do not plan to give up too quickly though because they are questioning if Danso is valued that much by Lens or if that is the figure to deter other clubs from purchasing him.

Max Kilman – Wolverhampton Wanderers

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is an admirer of the English defender of Ukrainian descent, but the asking price of €40m was considered to be too high. However, Wolves could sell him so they can provide funds for coach Julien Lopetegui to spend on the transfer market.

“I came here with a project and the idea that, once we were saved, we would be able to improve the squad this summer,” Lopetegui told the Pure Football podcast via La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Unfortunately, this was not the case. We have lost many players and there is a feeling that the club wants to sell more, but we need new signings to remain competitive in the Premier League.”

New Napoli general manager Mauro Meluso and scout Maurizio Micheli will assess which option is most affordable at the present between Danso and Kilman, and one that could be more profitable in the future.

Konstantinos Mavropanos – VfB Stuttgart

The 25-year-old has played for the German club for the last three seasons, and he scored a goal in the first leg of the Bundesliga relegation play-off against Hamburg, which they eventually won 6-1 on aggregate. Standing at 194 cm tall, Mavropanos is known to be physically strong defender with great anticipation and marking ability, and he is now an established starter for Greece.

Ko Itakura – Borussia Monchengladbach

A calm defender that is known to be a great reader of the play, the 25-year-old possesses ball-playing skills from the back, and he can also play as a defensive midfielder. Borussia Monchengladbach are not willing to discuss a transfer for now, but De Laurentiis would like to sign Itakura for his football skills and his ability to potentially bring commercial appeal to Japan, exposing Napoli to a new audience.

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