Beijing Guoan will be hoping Kim Min-jae can stiffen a leaky defence that conceded 45 goals in the CSL last season. (Photo: AFP)
South Korean defender Kim "Monster" Min-jae on Tuesday snubbed interest from the Premier League and the advice of his team-mates to sign for Beijing Guoan in China.
The 22-year-old centre-back, whose club Jeonbuk Motors said they had received a bid from Watford reported to be about $8 million, instead plumped for the Chinese Super League (CSL).
Guoan, who finished fourth in the CSL last season after falling out of the title race, announced Kim's signing but did not disclose the size of the transfer fee.
Coached by Germany's Roger Schmidt, Guoan will be hoping the established international can stiffen a leaky defence that conceded 45 goals in the CSL last season.
Kim missed the 2018 World Cup because of injury but is a stalwart of the South Korean side and was in the team for their surprise 1-0 loss to Qatar in the Asian Cup quarter-finals last week.
Kim, whose "Monster" nickname stems from his powerful physique, had put all talk of his next move off while at the tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
But team-mates had encouraged him to take his chance and follow in the footsteps of Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min, who has excelled in the Premier League.
Even Korean players plying their trade in the CSL had told the defender to go to England.
"I thought that he was going to China but then I heard good news and I hope he can make the better choice," said Kwon Kyung-won, who plays for Tianjin, after Watford's interest surfaced.
China is attractive to Asian players because of its high wages and proximity to home.