New Deal & Recent Form Shows Son Heung-min Has Ditched 'Underrated' Tag

Oct 24, 2020, 12:00 PM GMT+1
Heung-Min Son
£22m - a steal five years on | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Signed for £22m back in 2015 from Bayer Leverkusen, Son Heung-min has established himself as one of the cornerstones of Tottenham's success over the last five seasons.

The 28-year-old has racked up a whopping tally of 94 goals and 51 assists from 237 appearances for the Lilywhites across all competitions.

But is he rated as highly as he should be?

Going by the numbers, Son has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League in recent times, but is often overlooked when compared to others.

When the best winger in the Premier League debate surfaces, Mohamed Salah, Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane are usually the three names you’re most likely to hear.

Hazard vs Son in the Premier League
Hazard vs Son in the Premier League | Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Before them it was Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez or maybe Leroy Sane – all of whom have now moved on to members of the European elite. However, Son’s name is seldom heard during transfer season, despite being just as consistently impressive and crucial for his side as his peers.

Authentic, humble and committed, Son might not perhaps have the raw talent of a prime Hazard, but he always wins hearts with his application, work ethic and contribution in the final third.

One of his greatest assets is his ambidextrous nature as a footballer which allows Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino before him to use Son on either side of the attack and also as an auxiliary striker in a two-man attack.

The Korean has reduced Harry Kane’s goalscoring burden to a large extent, providing Spurs with the option of a second striker at times. He is not only about hard work, drive and determination, though. He’s certainly tireless, yes, but he also has a real quality on the ball and a football brain to see and make things happen. Not only is he an extremely clinical finisher, but he also has the presence of mind to create chances, not to mention his pace.

It is high time the South Korean icon was given the credit he deserves and should be right up here among the names spoken about as being the best in the business.

Perhaps the lack of silverware has prevented him from being labelled as one of the best and it’d be easy to suggest a move away from north London would be in the player’s best interests.

Alli and Son in last season's Carabao Cup quarter final at Arsenal
Alli and Son in last season's Carabao Cup quarter final at Arsenal | Alex Morton/Getty Images

However, Son is the right fit for Spurs as much as Spurs is the right place for Son. His ability to link up effectively with his teammates makes him a perfect fit for Tottenham’s system. The Korean has often been in tandem with the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen in the past and continues to thrive alongside Kane.

Now under serial winner Mourinho’s watchful eye, the Korean continues to show he is a player with a heap of ability and has all the attributes to propel Spurs to Premier League glory.

Kane and Son have a natural togetherness and their link-up play is undoubtedly the best in the league at the moment. Since Mourinho took charge of Spurs in November 2019, Kane (33) and Son (30) have had a hand in more goals in all competitions than any other Premier League players.

Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane
Deadly duo! | Pool/Getty Images

The pair sit third on the all-time list of best Premier League goalscoring partnerships with 28 goals. Only four duos sit ahead of them. Manchester City's David Silva and Sergio Aguero and Arsenal's Thierry Henry and Robert Pires are joint second with 29 goals, and Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba sit top with 36.

Now, Tottenham boss Mourinho says he expects Son to be handed a new long-term contract 'sooner or later'.

Son’s current deal is due to expire in 2023 and he's in discussions over a bumper new contract at the club, having scored scored nine goals in eight games along with four assists this season, being central to Tottenham’s goal glut.

Heung-Min Son
Son was brilliant in the 6-1 win at Manchester United | Pool/Getty Images

Frankly, Son has ditched any kind of underrated tag in the last few years. He's now renowned as one of the best attackers in the Premier League, but he's yet to have a season where he really explodes with 20 or more goals in the competition.

He managed 11 last term and he's already got seven this time around, sitting joint top of the Golden Boot ranking. That prize may prove a step too far, but Son's importance to Tottenham has grown incredibly and he's more than deserving of his pending new contract.