It appears Tottenham Hotspur will have one first team player competing in the Olympics this summer in Rio. South Korean forward Son Heung-Min stated in an interview with the Yonhap News Agency that Spurs had granted him permission to join his international teammates in Brazil.
"My club told me that I can play for the Rio Games, but what's important is the timing of my release. I want to join the Olympic team quickly and play with teammates.
My goal is to help South Korea to win another Olympic medal (after the country won the bronze at the London Games). I'm also working hard to be called up (by the Olympic team) as soon as possible."
The Olympics is primarily an U23 competition, but national teams are allowed to call up three overage players. For this year's Olympics, the cut-off date for U23 players is January 1, 1993, meaning Sonny, though still 23, would be considered one of Korea's overage players.
The competition also has ramifications for Sonny personally. Should Korea receive a medal at the competition, not only would it mean a great deal of prestige in a country that loves Olympic competition, but it would also mean that Son would automatically be exempt from his country's mandatory military service.
Despite Spurs giving Sonny the OK to go, there are apparently still a couple of issues to work through. The Yonhap report says Korean manager Shin Tae-yong wants to gather his team together by June 27, but Spurs seem unwilling to let Sonny go so soon. There's also the possibility that Son playing in a summer tournament so close to the start of the new season could have ramifications on his preseason training with Tottenham.
The Olympic soccer tournament will be held between August 4-20 in six cities across Brazil, including host Rio de Janeiro. Korea was drawn into a tough group C that also includes Germany, Mexico, and Fiji.
Son will be the only member of Tottenham's first team to play in the Olympics, but reserve midfielder Nathan Oduwa, who completed loans at Rangers and Colchester United this season, will also participate with Nigeria.