Tottenham Hotspur have been one of the stalwarts at the top of the Premier League table over the last several seasons under manager Mauricio Pochettino. While star striker Harry Kane has understandably drawn the vast majority of the headlines for his goalscoring exploits, a number of other key contributors have gone under-appreciated over the last several seasons.
One of the most important cogs in the Spurs side is Korean midfielder Son Heung-Min. The 26-year-old has been in North London since coming over from German side Bayer Leverkusen in 2015. Since joining Spurs, the South Korea international has netted 38 goals in 115 appearances for the club.
Son’s native South Korea will enter the Asian Cup as the 3-to-1 favorites for the championship. Those interested in live football betting will know that the South Koreans’ chief challengers for the title will be Iran (4-1), Japan (5-1) and Saudi Arabia (9-1).
While Christian Eriksen is the player most often labeled as Tottenham’s second-most important piece behind Kane, it is actually Son Heung-Min that has the biggest positive impact on Kane’s style of play.
Spurs surged into second place in the Premier League just a couple of weeks ago before falling back to third behind defending champions Manchester City. Tottenham have accumulated 48 points from 21 games, which has them just six behind league-leaders Liverpool. Spurs won’t be title favorites by any means, but Pochettino’s men are very much within striking distance.
However, they may take a hit over the next few weeks with Son away from the team. Spurs’ number 7 is set to leave the squad to play in the Asian Cup with South Korea starting in mid-January. If Son is able to lead the Taeguk Warriors deep into the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, the influential playmaker may wind up missing as many as 5 league games for Tottenham. Considering South Korea are the betting favorites, there is a very strong chance that the forward will miss Spurs’ clashes with Fulham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Watford and Newcastle United.
Currently on a hot streak, Son’s 10 goals from 13 appearances have made him a critical contributor of late, and his presence will be sorely missed.
With his particularly stellar form over the last calendar year, Son has seen his international profile skyrocket. The player’s transfer value has risen considerably since Spurs signed him for an estimated £22 million from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.
As of this past August, Son was valued at an estimated £90 million on the transfer market. Obviously, the North Londoners would make a massive profit on their initial investment if they were to sell him any time soon. The South Korean ranks 33rd in value of the top-100 players on the list. Amongst his clubmates, Son ranked third behind Kane (£180 million) and England international Dele Alli (£135 million). Interestingly enough, Christian Eriksen was valued at just £67 million, though that may admittedly be a conservative estimate.
Son’s presence is the primary reason behind South Korea being the betting favorites at the 2019 Asian Cup. Based on his performance with Tottenham and his skyrocketing individual value, it’s easy to see why that is the case.