Son Heung-min has revealed he asked to leave Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2016 after just one season at the club.
The South Korea international is now considered one of Spurs’ most important players and was named Player of the Year at the London Football Awards this week.
Why did Son want to leave Spurs after one season? Five key things to know…
- Son joined Tottenham from Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in the final week of the summer transfer window in 2015.
- He scored just four goals in 28 Premier League appearances, only 13 of which were starts, during his debut season in England.
- As a result of his indifferent form and lack of game time, Son was heavily linked with a return to Germany in the summer of 2016.
- And the 26-year-old has now confirmed he asked Mauricio Pochettino if he could leave after just one year at Spurs.
- Son has scored 16 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions this term – only Harry Kane (21) has more for Tottenham.
Son will be hoping to help Spurs beat Arsenal in Saturday’s north London derby at Wembley after drawing a blank in each of his last two appearances.
Speaking to the Evening Standard after picking up his award on Thursday, Son revealed his Tottenham transfer request.
“I came close to leaving,” he admitted. “I went to the gaffer’s office and told him I didn’t feel comfortable and wanted to leave for Germany.
“The gaffer trusted me and I am so grateful. He made my dream come true. I am more than grateful [to him] — it is difficult to say.
“I have worked four years with the gaffer. It is just amazing.”
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From winger to striker
One of the main factors behind Son’s rise at Tottenham is a slight positional tweak from winger to striker.
Indeed, Son has prospered as Harry Kane’s strike partner this season, often playing as the furthest forward of Spurs’ attackers as the Englishman drops into the No. 10 role.
What’s more, Son has been a useful stand-in through the middle when Kane is unavailable. The South Korean scored in four successive matches while Kane was recently sidelined with an ankle injury.
But Son appeared isolated on the left against Chelsea in midweek with Erik Lamela playing behind Kane, so Pochettino might be tempted to use Son centrally in Saturday’s clash with Arsenal.