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(LEAD) Tottenham's Son Heung-min claims no knowledge of potential transfer

All Headlines 18:37 August 29, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more comments in last 7 paras, photo)
By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean attacker Son Heung-min said Monday he hasn't heard anything about his rumored transfer to a Bundesliga club.

European media have recently reported that the 24-year-old attacker is wanted by Wolfsburg, which are searching for a replacement for striker Bas Dost after he joined Portuguese club Sporting earlier this month. Tottenham and Wolfsburg are reportedly negotiating a transfer fee for Son.

Son is currently in South Korea for a World Cup qualifying match against China at Seoul World Cup Stadium on Thursday. He told South Korean reporters that he isn't thinking about transfer rumors, but is focusing only on beating China.

"I haven't heard anything about my transfer," he said. "I don't want to think about things happening outside the stadium. I just want to focus on playing football."

This isn't the first time Son has been involved in transfer rumors after he joined the Spurs last season. Before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where he helped South Korea reach the quarterfinals, there were speculations that Son might find a new club for the 2016-17 season after the English Premier League (EPL) side acquired reigning Dutch league scoring champion Vincent Janssen and was nearing a deal with French winger Georges-Kevin N'Koudou.

Son joined the Spurs from Bayer Leverkusen after reaching double figures in goals in each of the past three seasons in Germany. The South Korean, however, was held to just four goals in 28 matches for Tottenham and was struggling to find playing time for the London club while other attackers Erik Lamela, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen showed impressive performances.

Son is familiar with the top-tier German league. He spent his previous five-plus seasons there after making his pro debut with Hamburg in 2010.

"It's not a good sign that transfer rumors are coming out," he said. "But I think it's meaningful that those in Germany acknowledge me."

For the upcoming World Cup qualifier against China, Son said South Korea will not let their guard down because anything can happen in football. The Taeguk Warriors only have one loss against China in their 30 encounters, but Son emphasized that the team should still prepare thoroughly. The memory of South Korea's 1-0 loss to the underdog Honduras at the Rio Olympic quarterfinals was still fresh in Son's mind.

"No one expected us to lose to Honduras; you just never know what's going to happen in football," he said. "This match is as important as the Olympics, so I will put forward my utmost efforts for my team to collect a victory."

Son was one of South Korea's three older players at the Rio Games, also known as "wild cards." He scored two goals but his Olympic medal dream ended in tears after losing to Honduras.

"The Olympic memories still pop into my head even after I lay down on my bed to sleep," he said. "I wanted to enjoy the Olympics longer, but it's a pity that it ended so soon for us. I will try to forget it as quickly as possible."

After playing China, South Korea will face Syria in Macau on Sept. 6. Son, however, will not travel with the squad since the Korea Football Association and Tottenham agreed not to play him in both World Cup qualifiers next month.

Against China, Son is likely to lead the team's attack with youngster Hwang Hee-chan, who also played with him at the Rio Games. The 20-year-old forward for Austrian club FC Red Bull Salzburg earned his first senior call-up.

"(Hwang) is young, but he is a very good player," he said. "I hope he can play as well as he did at the Olympics."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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