Who is Tottenham Target Son Heung-min?

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ESPN FC reports this morning that Bayer Leverkusen forward Son Heung-min is set for a medical at Tottenham ahead of a rumored £22 million move.

Those who follow the Bundesliga – or have an interest in Liverpool’s past transfer targets – might recognize the name. He’s been in Germany since he arrived in Hamburg’s youth system in 2008 from his native South Korea. Promoted to the first team in 2010, he went on to score 20 goals for the club over three seasons in all competitions.

His promising form earned him a move to Leverkusen in 2013 where he’s only improved his scoring rate, scoring 29 goals and assisting 11 more over the last two terms.

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Tottenham’s move for Son comes as something of a surprise. The club had been linked with half a dozen forwards over the summer though thus far have only been able to secure the services of 21-year-old Cameroonian Clinton Njie from Lyon. It’s thought that the club is anxious to find another such forward though, someone who can help ease the strain on current starting striker Harry Kane.

News that the 23-year-old Son is due for a medical in London comes amidst reports that Tottenham have submitted a third offer for West Brom’s Saido Berahino. The Korean’s pricey arrival at the club, should it be finalized, could jeopardize any additional offers for the English striker.

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In Son Tottenham will find a player that packs two of the club’s much-sought-after qualities into one player: versatility and production. Leverkusen have primarily used him on the left wing, though the club’s tendency toward more direct play has effectively meant that Son has played as a secondary striker for much of his time there. The gulf between his goal and assist tallies attests to the fact that he’s more than simply a winger.

For Tottenham he’ll likely play just behind Harry Kane, forming a strike partnership that is designed with goals in mind. Kane bore a good deal of Tottenham’s offense on his shoulders last term and the club rightfully recognizes that as an unsustainable plan going forward.

Such a stacked forward line hasn’t been seen at Tottenham since the days when Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart found the net so often. Indeed, if Son and Njie live up to their potential and Kane finds his form from last season, it might be even more potent.

The move for Son and his probable inclusion in the starting lineup leaves some open questions for Tottenham though. Who is dropped in favor of Son? Mousa Dembélé has been one of the club’s better performers so far this season and has proven himself to be the most devoted follower of Pochettino’s pressing game. He often drops deep to assist the budding partnership between the increasingly impressive midfield pair of Ryan Mason and Eric Dier. With Christian Eriksen always proving to be so vital, all that’s left is Nacer Chadli. It could be that the Belgian actually thrives from the bench if indeed he stays at the club.

Which in part addresses the bigger dilemma that Tottenham has yet to forcefully address, which is who the club can turn to from the bench when Plan A is simply not working. Dele Alli’s goal last weekend suggests he might be one such source, and Chadli’s good for an odd goal himself, but with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor gone the bench is in desperate need of a proper backup striker.

Son’s pricetag suggests he’s not being brought to the club for that reason, and with a lack of other, relatively cheap options on the transfer market Tottenham might have to content itself with the likes of Alli, Chadli, Njie and Alex Pritchard. Let’s hope that’s enough.

Son’s arrival to the club would be a boon to Tottenham’s chances this season even with some questions unanswered. With the defense still shaky-but-improving and Kane yet to reclaim his form, it might take time for the results to come, but Son represents progress regardless.

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