Ange Postecoglou and Tottenham face the prospect of losing Son Heung-min for around a month at the turn of 2024 with the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar on the calendar.
With the start of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in early 2024, Ange Postecoglou will find himself in a difficult situation. Tottenham will face the risk of losing Son Heung-min for about a month following South Korea’s qualification for the tournament in Qatar, especially if his national team advances to the final.
Originally scheduled to take place in China this summer, the competition was canceled in May 2022 because to the country’s Covid-19 crisis. Following the announcement in October that the tournament would instead be held in Qatar, the dates for the 24-team competition were published in early April, with the Asian Cup now beginning on Friday, January 12 and concluding on Saturday, February 10.
South Korea have been drawn in Group E and will take on Malaysia, Jordan and Bahrain. Bahrain are their first opponents at Hassim bin Hamad Stadium on Monday, January 15.
If Jurgen Klinsmann’s team advances to the final, Postecoglou and Tottenham might be without their captain for a total of seven games. That will all depend on when Son leaves for the tournament and how the Lilywhites perform in both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.
If Tottenham make it to the final four of the latter competition, Son may be unavailable for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, January 10, if South Korea wants him at their camp in the days preceding up to the tournament. Tottenham will then travel to Manchester United on either the 13th or 20th of January, as the round of fixtures will be split over two weekends to accommodate the players’ mid-season holiday.
More cup games await Spurs if they remain in the domestic tournaments, as the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg is scheduled for Wednesday, January 24, followed by the fourth round of the FA Cup three days later. If South Korea is eliminated from the group stage early, Son might return in time to face Brentford on Tuesday, January 30.
Klinsmann’s team, on the other hand, is likely to advance and reach the tournament’s later stages. Son will also miss Tottenham’s away trip to Everton on Saturday, February 3 and the home game against Brighton & Hove Albion one week later if South Korea advances to the final. While the number of games Son might potentially miss is unknown at the moment due on how Tottenham and South Korea perform, the worst-case scenario is that he misses seven.
Tottenham were in a similar situation in 2019, as the competition is contested every four years.Spurs reached an agreement with the Korean Football Association, and the attacker only appeared in three of his country’s games.
Following his release for the Asian Games in August and September, which resulted in him missing three Premier League games for Tottenham, both parties agreed that he would miss the first two group games of the Asian Cup. South Korea fell 1-0 against eventual winners Qatar in their final group match, and Son was unable to help them go beyond the quarter-finals.
Potential Tottenham games Son could miss in 2024
10/01 – Carabao Cup semi-final first leg
13/01 or 20/01 – Manchester United (A)
24/01 – Carabao Cup semi-final second leg
27/01 – Emirates FA Cup round four
30/01 – Brentford (H)
03/02 – Everton (A)
10/02 – Brighton & Hove Albion (H)