Tottenham's Son Heung-Min may miss start of season for Asian Games
Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min could miss the start of next season because he wants to play in the Asian Games, according to South Korea's under-23 coach.
If Son, 25, wins a gold medal at the Games, he will be exempt from military service, a mandatory 21-month period for all able-bodied South Korean males under 27.
The games run from Aug. 18 to Sept. 1, with the start of the new Premier League season due to start on Aug. 11. Son is already set to play in the World Cup for South Korea, who will face Sweden, Mexico and Germany in the group stage beginning on July 18.
Spurs have no obligation to release Son for the tournament because the Asian Games is not on the FIFA calendar, but the club may consider giving Son the chance to earn an exemption.
"Son has a strong will to compete at the Asian Games," U23 coach Kim Hak-Bum, who has been in Europe looking at candidates for the tournament, told the Yonhap news agency. "But first, there's the World Cup. I told Son to play well in Russia before we meet at the Asian Games."
Son could be selected as one of three over-age wild cards, but he was refused permission for the last Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014 by former club Bayer Leverkusen, with South Korea beating North Korea in the gold medal match.
"It's a sensitive issue," Kim said. "I believe the Korea Football Association will handle this matter well. The men's senior national team, the U23 team, the KFA and the player's club should all work closely."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.