Park Ji-Sung, Shinji Kagawa, Ki Sung-yueng, Maya Yoshida and Shinji Okazaki. These are some of the most prominent Asia born players that have graced the Premier League over the years. One name that stands in unreachable esteem in this category is Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min.
Right from the very moment he signed for Tottenham in 2015, there seemed to be greatness written all over his spell in England. Spurs completed the £22m signing of a 23-year-old Son (at the time). His transfer fee saw him become the most expensive Asian in football history and it was the start of what would be a large expectancy over his Tottenham career. The download number of mobile apps to let people watch Son play in the Premier League went through the roof in South Korea and a national hero was truly born.
At Tottenham, Son has established himself as one of their most influential players and is easily the net best thing in attack asides Harry Kane. After scoring only eight goals in his first season at the club, Son has gone on to score at least double digits in subsequent seasons for Tottenham (Transfermarkt).
His impressive performances time and time over has easily seen him become the most influential exploit from Asia in the past decade.
Just recently, Son was nominated yet again as one of the finalists for the 2019 AFC International Player of the Year award. Son won the award in 2015, 2017 and is the favourite to take home this honour too. Other than Erik Lamela, Son has been the most consistent offensive Tottenham performer this season.
As per Transfermarkt, the 27-year-old has already bagged eight goals and four assists this season and is on course to smash yet another double-digits feat for the third time in succession.
Nominees for AFC Asian International Player of the Year
— AFC (@theafcdotcom) November 16, 2019
On the bigger scheme of things, Son was also nominated for this season’s Ballon d’Or award, the first Asian footballer to be granted that honour in 12 years.
Avec Heung-min Son, l'Asie fait son retour au Ballon d'Or France Football pour la première fois depuis 12 ans https://t.co/uvUmToxfXx
— France Football (@francefootball) October 22, 2019
Even in England, Son is already developing a reputation for himself and has been recognized on a couple of occasions. Back in March, the South-Korean was named the Premier League Player of the Year at the 2019 London Football Awards and was recently tagged Tottenham’s best transfer of the decade by ESPN.
As expected, Son’s influence spreads largely to Asia as well and the 27-year-old is as big a name as Ronaldo or Messi back in his country in South-Korea.
Son also cemented his name in Spurs history after scoring the first competitive goal at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Crystal Palace back in April.
Son is not just proving to be a footballer but an influential figure in his country and for Asia football in general. As per BBC, the Tottenham forward was named the ninth most powerful celebrity in South Korea earlier in the year – with a social media presence of 3.4 million followers on Instagram.
Son deserves all the international praise coming his way. The 27-year-old has adapted to the Premier League like a duck on water, his deceiving power and pace a nightmare for any defence. And his desire and passion for the game, along with his affable character, makes him an invaluable asset in north London.
Currently rated at €80m as per Transfermarkt, Son has seen his value rise to more than triple the £22m (€25.6m) Spurs coughed out for his services back in 2015. Being the most highly valued player from Asia ever, Son no doubt holds the position for the continent’s most decorated and influential footballer from the region in the past decade.