While Kim Min-jae’s defending style lends to that of Upamecano and showcases his physical strengths, his ability on the ball tends to favor that of de Ligt. Again using Squawka’s comparison matrix, Min-jae showcased better statistics in passes completed in both the opponent’s half and own half, forward passes, short passes, and take-on success (important as he is a player that will drive forward when the opportunity presents itself much like that of Upamecano). It is also important to note that his pass accuracy was just .33 behind that of de Ligt.
In watching Napoli this past season, Min-jae played very well into Spalletti’s system of short passing and movement. The center back was able to get on the ball and look to play the quick safe option and move to receive within a different passing lane.
While this inflated his short passing statistics, it really showcased his quick decision-making and security on the ball. One aspect of his passing game that can improve is his long-range passing. Comparing that with de Ligt this past season, Min-jae was almost 5% behind that the Dutchman. At times, Min-jae looks to play the long pass and it is either the wrong decision or inaccurate.
In comparing Min-jae to the two Bayern defenders, it’s easy to see that he possesses the blend of both defenders. While his aggressiveness lends to that of Upamecano, his passing statistics are better in certain areas than de Ligt, who was arguably Bayern’s top overall defender this past season. It is clear that Rekordmeister is getting a solid defender that is capable of doing the necessary work defensively, while also possessing the comfortability on the ball to create from the back line.