Manchester United have placed Napoli defender Kim Min-jae at the top of their summer wish list, according to reports in Italy. He also played a key role in South Korea’s run to the World Cup last-16, where they were eventually beaten by pre-tournament favourites Brazil.

As a result, Kim is now attracting interest from other top clubs in European football, and United are believed to be one of them. According to Tutto Mercato Web, United are already putting plans in place to bolster their defence next season, with the Napoli centre-back understood to be one of their key targets.

Kim, 26, only moved to Napoli from Fenerbahce five months ago, but it didn’t take him long to hit the ground running, producing a string of impressive displays at the back to help Luciano Spalletti’s men build up an eight-point lead at the top of Serie A. Erik ten Hag is keen to strengthen defensively amid doubts over the futures of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, who have been third and fourth choice behind preferred pair Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez at the heart of his backline.

United could face heavy competition from Real Madrid, who according to The Sun, are also interested in signing Kim.Premier League rivals Tottenham, Brighton and Fulham are also said to be keeping tabs on the 26-year-old. United have also conceded 20 goals in their first 15 games with only Tottenham (23) conceding more in the top six. Napoli are likely to ask for his £39million release clause to be met if they are to sell the defender.

Manchester United are also said to be looking to sign a striker during the January window. They have already missed one target ahead of the January window, as forward Cody Gakpo made a £44m switch to Liverpool from PSV Eindhoven. ‘But it has to be the right one, and the right one is the one… he needs to bring the quality in the team, and not just an add to the squad, because that gives you only problems. And. you know, the criteria is high here at Man United.’

Ten Hag insisted that United need to sign a striker to replace Cristiano Ronaldo. He said: ‘First, that can also come out of our club see (Alejandro) Garnacho, (Anthony) Elanga, (Facundo) Pellistri, who made a good impression at the World Cup (for Uruguay). And, yes, we are aware we lost a striker, so I think yes, we have to get a striker in.

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