Son Heung-Min had a decent if not spectacular first season at White Hart Lane, but new reports are emerging that suggest that all might not be so rosy between the Korean international and Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs journo Matt Law, writing for the Telegraph, dropped a bombshell rumor today that suggests that Mauricio Pochettino is ready to sell Son not even a year since he purchased him from Bayer Leverkusen, assuming they can recoup the £22m they paid for him. This was the lead to an article that also suggested that Spurs were willing to listen to offers for Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb in the offseason and is in the market for a new central midfielder.
But the 23-year-old was dragged off at half-time in Tottenham’s 5-1 defeat to Newcastle United for a performance that left some of his team-mates enraged and may have sealed his fate under Pochettino.
Pochettino hinted after the game that the display had helped to make his mind up on a couple of issues ahead of the summer and it is understood he was referring to both Son and Mason, who was also substituted at the break. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is said to have been humiliated by the team’s capitulation, but has vowed to back Pochettino over any players he now wishes to sell and bring in.
Source: Matt Law, The Telegraph
It's really hard to know what to make of this report. True, Sonny was yanked at halftime of Spurs' 5-1 loss to Newcastle in the last match of the season, a rarity for Pochettino that smacked at the time of a rage-sub, but Son wasn't demonstrably any worse than most of the rest of the team in that match, and he scored in each of Spurs' two matches prior.
Law's sources seem to suggest that there's some sort of attitude problem at play with Sonny, which also seems really bizarre since there have been absolutely zero indications that he's been a dressing room problem child. He's bonded well with players like Kevin Wimmer, Harry Kane, and Dele Alli, and in all outward appearances has been happy, sociable, and well-behaved. It doesn't make sense.
Sonny has scored eight goals and dished up five assists in just under 2000 minutes of action this season, which is pretty decent considering that he was out for a chunk of the season with a foot injury. He maybe didn't hit the ground running the way most thought he would, but it's always tricky to make the transition to a new club in a new league.
Law is a solid journalist who has been correct in the past regarding inner workings at Tottenham, so it's really difficult to reject this story outright. But Sonny's performance isn't the sort that would compel a manager to part with him unless there are (perceived) problems with his attitude, or effort, or personality conflicts, etc. We know that Pochettino is a stickler for certain issues and that he's not at all hesitant to dump players that don't fit in with his club ethos.
Ugh. I sincerely hope this isn't the case, because I really like Sonny and think he's a phenomenal player. We'll be keeping an eye on this story, for sure.