Bayern Munich: Kim Min-jae linked with return to Napoli

After a difficult second half of the season at Bayern Munich, Kim Min-jae has been linked with a move back to Napoli in the summer.
Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae linked with return to Napoli.
Bayern Munich defender Kim Min-jae linked with return to Napoli. / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Thomas Tuchel has found continuity in the center-back position over the last six weeks at Bayern Munich. The German coach has been utilizing Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Dier in the heart of the defense. The center-back duo are expected to start against Arsenal later tonight.

Dier and De Ligt do not form a faultless partnership, but both are going through a good run of form. It has been a monumental turnaround for both, as they were struggling during the first half of the season. De Ligt was not getting consistent game time during Hinrunde, while Dier was struggling for playing time at Tottenham Hotspur.

Similarly, there has been a significant turnaround in the fortunes of Kim Min-jae and Dayot Upamecano at Bayern during Ruckrunde. Tuchel relied on the center-back partnership of Dayot Upamecano and Kim Min-jae during the first half of the season. Kim Min-jae started all Bundesliga games in Hinrunde.

After returning from the Asian Cup, Kim Min-jae has struggled to get game time. He was an unused substitute against FC Koln on Saturday. The lack of playing time for the South Korean defender has led to speculation about his future in Munich.

According to II Matino in Italy (via GIFN), Napoli will try to bring Kim Min-jae back to the club in the summer. The Italian club will look to negotiate a loan deal with Bayern. The South Korean defender enjoyed a successful stint in Naples before moving to Munich last summer.

Apart from Napoli, Inter Milan have reportedly identified Kim Min-jae as one of the top candidates to replace Francesco Acerbi in the summer. The South Korean defender may have several European suitors if Bayern decides to cash in during the summer.

Despite the speculation, Kim Min-jae is determined to win a place back in Bayern’s starting XI. His performances during the first half of the season were impressive. It would be unusual for Bayern to give up on him after one season. Unless a big club makes an irresistible offer, Die Roten will look to keep Kim Min-jae beyond the current campaign.

The competition amongst central defenders at Bayern may become even more intense next season. The Bavarian club will strengthen the defense in the summer after missing out on Ronald Araujo and Radu Dragusin in January. As things stand, Kim Min-jae will be part of Bayern’s plans next season. However, things can change swiftly, if he pushes for a move in the summer.