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He was the great discovery of the 2010 pre-season. The then 18-year-old South Korean Son Heung-Min scored eight times in five friendlies for Bundesliga club Hamburger SV. Then, on 4th August 2010, a friendly against Chelsea FC was on the agenda. Son came off the bench after 82 minutes.
Five minutes later Ricardo Carvalho, at that time probably one of the best defenders on the planet, didn’t understand what just hit him. With a quick body swerve followed by a few quick steps, the South Korean teenager fooled the experienced Blues-defender and buried the ball into the net, which meant the 2-1 victory. He just scored his first goal at Imtech-Arena, attended by approximately 45,000 supporters. A player never forgets such a hit!
But Son shed bitter tears only a few minutes later. Another duel with Carvalho led to the fracture of a bone in Son’s midfoot. However, this severe injury could not stop his Bundesliga-breakthrough. Healing proceeded after schedule, and HSV was well aware that the “Korean Muller” will play an important role in the club’s future.
Armin Veh, who was Hamburg’s coach at that time and is now in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt, was already convinced of Sons abilities: “Son will be an established Bundesliga player. At the age of 18, he’s got more skills than other professionals at the age of 30.”
Indeed, the Chuncheon-born striker shows enormous speed and terrific technique. Thanks to his solid ball control and good shooting abilities with both feet he often seeks a shot at goal. His athletic physique and his hard-running qualities support Son’s dynamic playing style.
Since his encounter with Ricardo Carvalho, Son Heung-Min seems to be unstoppable. At 19 years, he made his debut for the national team of his country. At Hamburger SV, the now 20-year-old is one of the well established key players and performers.
In his last 17 Bundesliga games, he scored seven times. The South Korean is the future of his club, a shooting star in the Bundesliga. Obviously such an outstanding young player is a desirable boost to financially well situated competitors.
Son’s contract expires in the summer of 2014, and those responsible at HSV are trying everything to keep their top talent.
Hamburg manager Frank Arnesen is well aware about Son’s sporting and economic value for the club: “Of course we have our limit. But Son is 20 years old, he is a very great talent. You have to remunerate such talents adequately. I have no problems doing so.”
This awareness has to be present and firmly established in the club. Hamburg’s number 40 is linked with a number of national and international clubs. Rumor has it that Liverpool offered 20 million Euros during the January transfer window. Also Tottenham, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund are said to be interested.
But if Hamburg officials do their best, there should be a possibility to develop with sustainability and build up a team around their rough diamond.
Written by David Niesner
Follow him on Twitter @Davidudl
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