Upon arriving to Spurs in the summer of 2015 for a reported fee of £22m, the White Hart Lane faithful had high expectations of Heung-Min Son. Many still do have high expectations of him, including myself, despite the inconsistency he showed in his first season at the club. Personally, I was extremely eager to see what Son could do for Tottenham having followed him during his time in the Bundesliga and in particular, having seen just what he was capable of once he got going.
It’s fair to say his debut season hasn’t been the best. Misplaced passes, one too many touches, taking too much time on the ball and not tracking back to defend have all been a recurring pattern over the course of last season for Son. However, he has not been nearly as woeful as many make him out to be. He’s shown glimpses of why he was brought in for the price that we paid – his wonderfully taken finish against Leicester City in the cup springs to mind.
As he frequently featured in cup competitions for Tottenham last season, his contribution in the Europa League helped Spurs reach the last 16 – accumulating a total of five goals and eight assists along the way. Having been in and out of the Spurs team all season and not playing as often as he would have liked, the South Korean concluded the season with ten goals and as many assists – not the worst tally to have considering how much he has had to adapt to since his transfer.
It goes without disputing, the Premier League is one of, if not the, most competitive league in the world and it would probably even take some world class proven individuals from abroad a bit of time to get to grips with the physicality of the league and the fact that on most occasions, you’re barely allowed a split second in the final third of the pitch to move the ball. Other factors off the pitch such as the native language and new surroundings all play a part too, of course.
I have always said that Heung-Min Son reminds me a lot of Erik Lamela in his first season at the club – you could see some of the potential in him, but not all of it would come out just yet. And now, three seasons on, Erik Lamela is one of the first names on the Spurs team. He was slow to react and weak on the ball in his first injury-free season, but after getting to grips with the league and adapting to his new surroundings which all takes time (some longer than others), Erik Lamela has become one of our most important players.
Considering how patient we all were with Lamela and how long we waited for him to flourish, I don’t see why we shouldn’t show the same patience with Son with the optimistic hope that the former Bayern Leverkusen man turns out just as good, if not better than the Argentine. He’s already shown more promise than Lamela did in his debut season and now that Son will have a first full pre-season under his belt with Pochettino and the team, I have every hope that he will play a more important role next season with Champions League back on the horizon for the club.