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Tottenham strikes deal with Korean federation to let Son play in Asian Games

Sonny will leave for the Asian Games on August 11, and in return will miss November friendlies and part of the Asian Cup.

AS Roma v Tottenham Hotspur - International Champions Cup 2018 Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images

We already knew that Son Heung-Min will be departing Tottenham Hotspur after the at the beginning of the Premier League season to participate in the Asian Games with South Korea. Now we also know that Spurs will also get something in return for letting him go at the start of the season.

According to a report from the Korea Football Association, Sonny’s participation in the Asian Games, basically the Olympics of the Asian federation, will mean that Spurs will not release him to play for Korea during the international break in November, and he will miss the first two group stage matches of the Asian Cup in January.

As it is, Sonny will not depart north London until August 11, just after Spurs’ opening match at Newcastle United. He’ll miss Korea’s first group stage match against Bahrain, but will be in Indonesia with his national team until (hopefully) receiving the gold medal on September 1.

This feels like a fair deal between Spurs and the KFA. Tottenham knows what this means for Sonny, but also wants the KFA to acknowledge that having him missing for the start of the Premier League season is a huge issue for them as well. Not participating in November friendlies will give Sonny the rest that he hasn’t really had this summer.

This competition is important for Son, not just because he loves playing for his country but also because a gold medal win in this competition would mean an exemption from his compulsory military service. Sonny has up until now refused to talk about that aspect of the competition, but state that he was sorry about leaving his Tottenham teammates at the start of the new season.

South Korea should be considered one of the favorites to win the Asian Games. They are in a five-team group that also includes Bahrain, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, and the United Arab Emirates.