Heung-min Son is an elite forward.
The Tottenham ace has scored 134 goals for his club and set up 75 more since arriving in England.
But he barely gets the recognition he deserves for his consistent brilliance over the years.
In the 21/22 Premier League season, he scored 23 non-penalty goals.
But that was not enough to get him a place in the PFA Team of the Year. Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?
Son’s phenomenal numbers
How good has the South Korea international been for Tottenham?
His numbers rival the likes of Eden Hazard and Sadio Mane, who were widely regarded as one of the best in the trade during their Premier League tenure.
Let’s compare the stats of Hazard, Mane, and Son in their first seven Premier League campaigns to understand how similar their performances are in the English top flight.
|Eden Hazard (2012-19)||245||85||54|
|Sadio Mane (2014-2021)||229||95||36|
|Heung-min Son (2015-2022)||232||93||46|
As numbers indicate, these three players have been a neck-and-neck race.
But, Son does not get the level of acclaim Hazard and Mane did for their Premier League careers.
His lack of silverware could be a reason, but he did not set a foot wrong on an individual level.
So, it feels rather inconsiderate to write off his personal excellence because of his team’s barren run.
Heung-min Son does have his limitations, but which player doesn’t?
He is not the best pick to operate in tight spaces as he centers his game around running into empty pockets and exposing the opposition backline.
His inability to navigate tight spaces did not impede his effectiveness as a lethal attacker. So, that’s not much of a big issue.
Son vs Salah
In the 21/22 season, Son shared the Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah.
Both players scored 23 goals to rise to the summit of the Premier League scoring chart.
But Son did it without scoring a single penalty.
Salah, on the other hand, scored from the spot on five occasions.
Son also had a superior conversion rate than his Egyptian counterpart. The Tottenham number seven had a conversion rate of 27% in 21/22, while Salah’s conversion rate was 13% in the same season.
That means Salah had to take more than twice as many shots as Son had to take in 21/22 to score.
Regardless, Salah made it into the Ballon d’Or debate, while Son could not even make it to the PFA Team of the Year.
It’s not as if Son had a tremendous one-off season.
He has been a consistent performer for the Lillywhites since he joined Tottenham Hotspur from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015.
Apart from his first season, Son has outperformed his xG in all the seasons he played for Tottenham Hotspur. Even in that first season, he matched his xG. This proves how extraordinarily clinical he has been for the North London outfit.
He is also comfortable taking shots in both feet.
As of writing, he has scored 96 Premier League goals. 41% of them came from his left foot and he scored 55% with his right.
Son has a variety of finishing abilities under his belt. We have seen him cruising through a sea of defenders before rattling the back of the net. He also took goalkeepers by surprise by hitting the target out of nowhere.
Son is a Puskás award winner, which validates his penchant for scoring breathtaking goals.
Heung-min Son has performed on par with some of the best forwards in the world.
But his name does not come up often while discussing the top players.
Maybe moving to a European powerhouse will help him step into the limelight.