Fans of Tottenham Hotspur would have breathed a huge sigh of relief in the latter stages of last week. While rumours broke that Harry Kane was closing in on a big-money move to Premier League champions Manchester City, Son Heung-min put pen-to-paper on a new four-year contract at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
There’s no doubt that the news would have taken the edge off Kane’s inevitable exit, albeit minimally reducing the pain in the chest of Spurs’ fans, but keeping Son in the wake of Kane leaving was key for new boss Nuno Espírito Santo and the club — especially if they want to build on last season’s seventh-place finish and become more favourable on sights like Betdaq.
Son may have had a rocky start to life in the Premier League when he first joined the north London outfit from Bayer Leverkusen for just £22 million, with rumours even circling that he was on the cusp of a return to Germany just one year later. However, he has certainly found his feet in England’s top flight since then and has become a key player for Spurs.
Son knows that if Kane is to leave the club this summer, the pressure of carrying the side will now fall on his shoulders, and that is an almighty weight to carry — especially as Spurs have underperformed in recent years, and will probably find things even tougher without their talisman and record-scorer Kane.
But that is credit to Son and the player he has become in the last few seasons. One of the best in the world in his position, the South Korean has outgrown his initial shyness to develop massively as a player over the last couple of years and he now has the confidence and enough about him to handle the pressure of being Tottenham’s star player for years to come.
Double figures of Premier League goals have been the norm for Son since he knuckled down after that topsy-turvy first season, in which he found the back of the net just four times.
However, last season was his best yet in the famous white jersey of Spurs. He scored 17 times, making him the joint-fourth top scorer in the league, whilst he also racked up an impressive 10 assists — again the fourth-best tally in the entirety of the league.
Son’s ability is unquestionable, and he has a knack for scoring with both feet. It is his improved finishing that has perhaps taken him up a notch, and if Kane is to leave the club this summer, then Nuno could opt to deploy the 29-year-old as an out-and-out number nine.
It was clear that Son was working his way into a more central role last season, as he spent less time on the wings and helping out defensively. And with Spurs not really boasting any real back-up to Kane, it’s a position we might see Son take by the reins next season. The question is, is he a good enough out-and-out goalscorer to play in that role?
Well, with 22 goals in all competitions, last season was his most prolific yet in a Spurs shirt, and with the possibility of no Kane, Son will know that it is he who will need to make a difference. He will be the cog that keeps Tottenham ticking, and if Nuno can build his XI around the South Korean, and the players around the 29-year-old can supply him with the chances he needs, then it could be a huge season for Son.