Recruitment chief opens up on criticism he took for signing Heung-min Son at Spurs

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Heung-min Son
(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Paul Mitchell has revealed he was criticised for his decision to sign Heung-min Son for Tottenham with some of the club’s staff members questioning the forward’s ability in training. 

Son sealed a switch from Bayer Leverkusen for £22 million in 2015 (The Guardian), joining a progressing Spurs side managed by Mauricio Pochettino. 

Developing into one of the best forwards in Europe since the move and forming a fine partnership with Harry Kane, he has tallied 131 goals for the club (Transfermarkt) and earned last season’s Premier League Golden Boot award. 

But things did not start smoothly in North London for the South Korea captain as he needed time to bed in and get up to speed to realise his full potential. 

And Mitchell, who was part of Tottenham’s recruitment team at the time of Son’s arrival, has revealed he faced ‘a lot of criticism’ for the deal as some of the club’s coaches labelled the forward a poor finisher in training. 

He told Sky Sports News (28/07/22 at 11:05am): “I took quite a lot of criticism in my first year at Tottenham for some of the decisions and Sonny was at the centre of that. 

“Once again, it’s a little bit of a learning for me that sometimes players need time. They are human beings. They need to settle. Sonny had a great track record at Hamburg and Leverkusen.

“I remember this narrative that started to grow internally and externally as well that he wasn’t a good finisher. I remember one of the staff members saying to me when I was watching a training session and I said, ‘You’re wrong’.

“I said, ‘History shows, at Leverkusen being a big club, he’s a very astute finisher off both sides’ and what we have seen over the years since, after that first year of integration and sometimes you need that patience because you know the quality of the individual, is everything we saw – he will go down as a great player in Premier League history.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

Son’s start at Spurs is pretty well documented as he took a while to really force himself into the line-up and make himself known to Europe. 

That first season really set him up to make improvements, though, as he has been on an upward trajectory since and establishing himself as one of the key pieces to the club. 

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