Tottenham, Son Heung-Min and Approaching Austerity
The penny pinchers of White Hart Lane after having their fingers burned over the Olympic stadium move are in an even more parsimonious mood led by financial hard man Daniel Levy. The years to follow are going to be frugal years and the Spurs faithful have to learn to cope with it. A ceiling on spending has been set at fifteen million pounds. In the coming years teams like Stoke City and Southampton will be able to gazump Spurs on the transfer front without any resistance, paying for a stadium is frustrating business, just you ask their North London neighbors. Arsenal were one of the foremost teams in world football when the Emirates undertaking kicked off, a few years down the line and they are disappearing behind the tail lights of the truly elite clubs, I daren’t think what can happen to Spurs.
It came as a huge surprise therefore as an avid Son Heung-Min fanatic when he decided to ditch the rising power of Bayer Leverkusen for the bright lights of the premier league, the lights at the lane are a bit dim. His team mates including the sublime Hakan Calhanoglu suggested it might be due to family pressures from his frankly outspoken father. The Asian market is one of the sustaining markets for the premier league, a final match of the season to be played in Asia has even been mooted in some circles. Therefore without being insular and generalising, many a young boy dreams of playing under the gaze of the whole world in the Premier League.
Son Heung-Min is a flying forward, athletic as they come. Combining a cold blooded accuracy in front of goal with a wide array of dribbling skills and pace to burn, he’s a bundle of energy on the football pitch. Not an out and out forward, more of a second striker or an inverted winger nevertheless his numbers are devastating, in the champions league time and again he came up with the goods. Bayer Leverkusen, after ditching Sami Hyppia, has become a different animal under the enigmatic student of football Roger Schmidt. Pep Guardiola admires his brand of pressing which he cultured to perfection while managing an irrepressible Red Bull Salzburg side. This side pushed Atletico Madrid to within an inch of their lives and gave as good a kicking as they received and over two legs out-muscled, out passed, out thought and out fought Diego Simeone’s team who are famous for straddling the legality line. This is a team going places with a coach at the helm with fresh, creative ideas, they are going places.
The Premier League’s bottom feeders can go toe-to-toe with teams from the top drawers all over Europe in terms of spending and while I am not suggesting that monetary reasons were the cause of Son Heung-Min’s transfer, they surely played a huge part in it. Tottenham Hotspur are by all means an impressive team with sixth or seventh place firmly assured but a new world order is taking root in English football and even traditional power houses like Manchester United are feeling the heat, it is only right to assume that Spurs have had a few buttock hairs singed from the heat wave. With a highly unpredictable future between now and when the new stadium starts bringing in money it is barely plausible why a high octane performer like Son Heung-Min who in a few years could have the elite football clubs at his feet while still testing himself against them in the champions league and improbably sneak in a Bundesliga title would choose to jump ship to an uncertain future.
The reality is that Tottenham will not be gracing the Champions League any time soon and they will have to be content with memories of Gareth Bale torching Maicon on that famous night at the San Siro or live vicariously through Modric and Bale’s heroics in the competition, hoping Son Heung-Min proves to be a transfer coup for Tottenham. The reality is that winter is coming, the austerity years are here and the winds of winter are blowing even harder, the leaves are falling, the trees are bare, the snowflakes are visible on the window sill every morning, and it’s not Christmas.
Featured image: all rights reserved by Alan Myers.
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