Are Spurs’ Expectations for Son Too High?

English: Son Heung-Min, South Korean football player for Hamburger SV. // 9 November 2011 // Crofab - [Own work]
English: Son Heung-Min, South Korean football player for Hamburger SV. // 9 November 2011 // Crofab - [Own work] /

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It’s fair to say that the gulf between Tottenham fans’ expectations and the club’s expectation is often pretty wide. The club is, at least in theory, a business, and any enthusiasm is as well-tempered as their dealings are well-researched.

Nevertheless, the amount paid to Bayer Leverkusen for South Korean international forward Heung-Min Son – third most in the Tottenham’s history – demands a certain amount attention be paid to the player’s immediate impact. Son has been brought into a squad thirsty for offense. Three goals in four games does not pass muster, especially when the defense cannot always be relied upon to not let one or two goals slip through each game.

More worryingly for Spurs, only one of those three goals so far have come off the boot of a recognized goalscorer. Nacer Chadli’s goal at the death of the first half against Stoke was what was expected of Tottenham’s offense. That the other two goals so far this season came off the head of Eric Dier on a set piece and from substitute midfielder Dele Alli suggest that not all is right so far however.

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It hasn’t helped that last term’s top-scorer Harry Kane hasn’t hit his stride yet so far this season, or that Christian Eriksen has been injured for the past two games. Those issues should correct themselves given time, but those two star players’ absence has highlighted the lack of depth in Tottenham’s forward line.

Son and – to a slightly lesser extent – Clinton Njie were targeted long before the offense began sputtering of course. Since their arrival at the club though both players’ names have been used as bywords for rejuvenation. At 23 and 22-years-old respectively, they represent another injection of youth into an already young squad.

Their ages highlight something that is to some extent true of the entire squad: a near fanatical concentration on youth. There are a handful players regularly on Tottenham’s matchday squad that one could justifiably say are in their prime. Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembélé and the centre-back pairing of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld are all players with the age and experience to reliably form the core of the squad. Outside of those four, the regular matchday squad’s age regularly averages in the low 20s.

RELATED: Tottenham Player Profile: Heung-Min Son

All of which is to say that Son is being brought into a squad not as an improvement to the club’s process, but as part of the club’s process. He joins a team oriented around youth and therefore not necessarily toward immediate results. As prolific as Kane was last season, it’s safe to say that was more a pleasant surprise for Mauricio Pochettino and company and less a part of their plans.

It’s no coincidence that this Tottenham squad is built to reach their heights right when the club moves into its new stadium in 2018. If the club were looking for experience and results this instant, they could easily have spent £32 million on a proven goalscorer. That instead they invested into two more young men says everything the fans need to know about the club’s pivot from short-term goals to long-term success.

When fans look at the experience Son has relative to his age, they might rightfully begin salivating. He will certainly bring something to the squad that wasn’t there before, though much like the rest of the squad, that potential might take time to express itself. Whether or not he’ll score a goal every other game this term both remains to be seen and is beyond the point.

Next: North London Dispatch: Tottenham's Season Through October