Son Heung-min mum on report of trade deal

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Son Heung-min mum on report of trade deal

Responding to a report that his move to Bayer Leverkusen is imminent, Son Heung-min said yesterday that nothing has been confirmed about a deal.

Kicker, a German sports magazine, reported that the Korean star, who plays for Hamburg SV, is poised to move to the richer Bundesliga club.

Kicker said that Hamburg is demanding 10 million euros ($13.1 million) in transfer fees from Leverkusen to buy the 20-year-old striker. Leverkusen “has necessary financial resources and need” to have him, the magazine reported. It said the deal could be confirmed within this week.

“I heard about it, but I can’t talk,” Son said as he was training at the National Football Center in Paju, Gyeonggi, yesterday, ahead of Korea’s upcoming World Cup qualifier at home against Uzbekistan. “It [the deal] is not in a stage yet where I can talk to the media about it. There is nothing confirmed yet.”

One football agent familiar with Germany’s transfer market told Ilgan Sports that it is a fait accompli that Son is moving to Leverkusen. Bild, the German daily newspaper, reported that Son has been offered a four-year deal with a 3 million euro annual salary.

Leverkusen jumped into the race to acquire Son after its main striker, Andre Schurrle, decided to leave for Chelsea. Leverkusen finished third in Bundesliga this season and has secured a berth to the UEFA Champions League next season.

If the deal is made, Leverkusen will have another Korean talent after Cha Bum-kun, who was a leading Bundesliga striker a generation ago. Cha, now 59, scored 98 goals in 308 games over 11 Bundesliga seasons between 1978 and 1989.

Son finished his third season in Bundesliga with 12 goals, which made him one of the league’s top 10 scorers. Rumors have linked him to big European clubs either in the German league or in the English Premier League, such as Tottenham and Liverpool.

Son played down the possibility of a move to England, saying that he is more willing to play at Bundesliga.

“I am in my third year at Bundesliga. I will build more experiences at Bundesliga where I feel comfortable and then consider moving to another league such as the Premier League,” he said.

Son is a leading striker in the making for Korea, who will test him more if it makes its eighth consecutive entry into the FIFA World Cup.

Son said that he wants to play in Brazil, but for now he will focus on winning the remaining qualifiers.

“It is what everybody dreams, but what is more important than playing in the World Cup for now is winning a match against Uzbekistan,” he said. “If we are in a normal condition, it is an opponent that we can beat.”


By Moon Gwang-lip, Kim Jung-yong [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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