We’ve spoken a lot lately about how Tottenham Hotspur will be without Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma for about a month when both report for the African Cup of Nations in January. What’s slid a little bit under the radar is that Son Heung-Min will also be absent for much of that time to participate in the Asian Cup with South Korea, who will be among the favorites to win the competition.
Now we have a few more details about how long Sonny will be gone, and when he’ll leave. According to journalist Steve Han, who is one of the premier reporters covering the Taeguk Warriors, Sonny is set to report for international duty after Spurs’ match vs. Bournemouth on December 31 and could be gone as long as until February 10.
It has been agreed that Son Heung-min will fly to Abu Dhabi to join Korea’s camp for the Asian Cup after Spurs play Bournemouth on 31 December. Korea will play a friendly (opposition TBD) on 6 January. The Asian Cup takes place from 12 January to 10 February in Qatar.— Steve Han • 한만성 (@realstevescores) December 11, 2023
That’s a long-ass time to be without your club captain and leading scorer. What does it mean exactly? Here’s Dan Kilpatrick to break it down for us. SPOILER: it’s not great.
Son to miss FA Cup 3rd round at home to Burnley on Jan 5, a potential 4th round tie & the League visit to Manchester United. He would also sit out the games vs Brentford (H), Everton (A) & Brighton (H), depending on S Korea's progress in Asian Cup. https://t.co/kEybx18nh8— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) December 11, 2023
Whoof. I’ll start by saying that it’s perfectly reasonable for Korea manager Jurgen Klinsmann (yep, that’s still a weird thing to type) to ask his national team captain and best player to report for a friendly ahead of a major tournament. That’s just potentially a very long time to be away from Tottenham and I’m a little worried, not gonna lie.
I suppose we can always hope that Korea somehow lays an egg and crashes out of the competition at the group stage, but that doesn’t seem very likely — they were drawn into a group with Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain, and should progress pretty easily. Unless they draw someone big and ugly in the Round of 16, Korea probably has a ticket to the quarterfinals, which take place February 2-3.
Regardless, Spurs will be without him for a long time and will have to find a way to score with him absent. Richarlison scoring a brace is a nice start, and maybe Spurs will add someone else early in the transfer window to help out. That’d be nice.