You might have seen an article in the London Evening Standard today about Son Heung-Min, the Hamburg SV attacker that Tottenham Hotspur have been linked to for quite some time. Tom Collomosse says that Tottenham are favorites to sign him if he leaves the German club, but that HSV plan to offer him a new contract shortly.
Hamburg is run like a business, and while they're ambitious, they have financial constraints. Either he signs a reasonable new deal or they sell him. Here's the most important part of Collomosse's article.
Son will be offered a new long-term deal worth €2.7million (£2.3m) a year, which is nearly £45,000 a week. Standard Sport understands there is likely to be a clause in the contract which would allow Son to leave Hamburg in the summer of 2014 if his valuation, and other conditions, were met.
Should Hamburg manage to tie down Son, it would be a surprise to those who have followed his progress this season. He remains keen on a possible move to Tottenham and only last week is thought to have told friends that he expected to join the White Hart Lane club.
This is a pretty world football-savvy audience around here, so I know that a lot of our readers have some decent working knowledge of the Bundesliga and have caught his games a couple of times. Good for you! For those who are unfamiliar with Son, I figure a little breakdown is in order. Here are a bunch of things you need to know about him.
1. He's awesome
This is the most important thing that you need to know about Son. He's really good at football. Independent of all other reasons we might or might not want to sign him -- age, wages, transfer fee, fit, position, etc. -- he's really good at football. He's a good player that Tottenham should want if all of the conditions are right. He has size, pace, skill, touch, finishing ability and versatility. He's going to make an excellent signing for someone.
2. He's getting better at a slow but steady rate
Son is 20 years old, and he's improved with each season he's played in the Bundesliga. He's yet to blow up and become a superstar, but there has been very noticeable improvement in his game each year. There's no reason to believe that this trend won't continue.
3. Hamburg won't get stepped on, but are reasonable
We are not dealing with Internacional here, nor are we dealing with a club that is going to give away a player for free. HSV are Ajaxy. We can expect to pay a fair price for Son, like we paid for Jan Vertonghen and Liverpool paid for Luis Suarez.
4. He is not "THE"
And here's where things get dicey. I know that any mention of signing a wide player, attacking midfielder or forward who is not an all-around No. 9 really gets on the nerves of some Tottenham fans, and I've understood why. We haven't made a real honest to goodness attempt to fill the position since we signed Darren Bent, and that didn't turn out well. We haven't had that player since Dimitar Berbatov, and it's probably the difference between barely scrapping for 4th and comfortably finishing 3rd. I get it. I'm frustrated too.
Son has played as a center forward this season, but only with a strike partner, when Hamburg play in a 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 formation. He has not played as a lone center forward at all this season. He usually plays on the right wing of a 4-2-3-1 formation, but has played a bit of less wing and less attacking midfielder. This versatility is good. He's like Clint Dempsey with a much higher ceiling, which will be cool if Clint Dempsey decides that he needs to go be first choice somewhere in a World Cup year.
5. Having said all of that, we should sign him if we have the chance
Even if Tottenham finish 5th and don't make Champions League, or finish 4th and then lose in their Champions League playoff, Daniel Levy's going to spend some money this summer. He's not going to break the bank unless we get 3rd (and even then, don't count on it), but I think he'll clear some dead (or not quite perfect) wood, then sign a center forward and one other player. If Dempsey is one of the players who exits, Son would be a perfect replacement/upgrade. He's a four-position backup who could win a starting role by the end of this season, or be a Gareth Bale replacement if he ever pulls a Luka or Madrid makes a stupid £50m bid before he gets the chance.
Yes, a line-leading, versatile, true No. 9 is Spurs' top priority, but their second priority should be a young up-and-coming attacker like Son. Maybe I just think that because I'm a huge Tom Carroll fan and I see Moussa Dembele getting better at playing in a deeper role each week, but I think we're in need of someone like Son. He'll be a 21-year-old, better version of what Dempsey was supposed to be. He's not another Lewis Holtby or Gylfi Sigurdsson, and isn't contributing to squad congestion in that role.
I'm down with this. Make it happen, Dan.