Son Heung-min will no doubt bounce back to his Tottenham best, but he has not adapted well to the arrival of Richarlison, one pundit claims.
Son has maintained his status as a deadly goalscoring asset for Spurs ever since his 2015 move from Bayer Leverkusen. The South Korean’s partnership with Harry Kane up front, in particular, has continued to blossom.
Spurs manager Antonio Conte has looked to add to the double threat in successive transfer windows, though. In January, Dejan Kulusevski arrived from Juventus and has settled in impressively.
This summer, meanwhile, Richarlison signed from Everton and has also made an impact. In fact, he started in place of Kulusevski against Fulham on Saturday, assisting Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before having a goal ruled out.
Son has also notched an assist this season, but he has yet to find the scoresheet after scooping a share of last season’s Premier League Golden Boot award.
And former Tottenham man Paul Robinson has admitted that Conte now has a “real problem” in his attacking ranks. He added that Son needs to get up to speed with his new team-mate.
“The manager has a real problem though,” Robinson told Football Insider.
“We know that Son is not playing as well as he can. He has not taken the challenge of Richarlison well. I think he has gone into his shell a little bit rather than embracing the competition.
“I don’t think he likes being brought off after 70 minutes. He likes the comfort of knowing he will play the entire game.”
Son Heung-min will improve at Tottenham
Still, Robinson backed Son to find his goalscoring touch again and put his current troubles behind him.
“I think we will get a better Son in the following weeks because Kulusevski was dropped rather than Son to make room for Richarlison,” the pundit said.
“The manager has a real problem picking now because Richarlison has proved he is as good, if not better, than what is starting.
“It’s a matter of time for Son though. He hit the bar, scored an offside goal and has been given the vote of confidence from the manager.”
Son has scored 131 goals in 331 Tottenham appearances so far in his career.
Spurs star needs focus amid Richarlison battle
Son has proved it before and he will prove it again – this goal drought will not last long.
In the 2020/21 campaign, Son in fact went seven Premier League games without a goal. He ended that drought emphatically with four strikes in the final eight fixtures of the campaign.
Going further back, Son could not find the net in six successive top-flight games in the 2019/20 term. However, he responded with two in two.
And he hit the same tally after a five-game absence without a goal later on in that season, too.
As such, Son has proved that – like all good strikers must – he can overcome adversity when it arises.
Conte’s additions of Kulusevski and Richarlison could end up being a masterstroke, anyway. Son and Kane have been relied on for so long as the Tottenham goal-getters, hence their importance.
The added competition is therefore healthy to help ease the burden on the duo.
But the increased battle for minutes will also lead to Son or one of the others missing out on a starting place – and potentially going through these runs of form. And that will only make them hungrier to score more goals and help the team win more games.
All in all, Son just needs to remain focused and know that his chances will come. The Champions League is coming up for Tottenham and Son may believe that presents a solid chance to end his drought.