Son Heung-min celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, September 2019.

Son Heung-min: Revisiting the 7 alternatives Tottenham chased in 2015

Since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015, Son Heung-min has made quite the name for himself at Tottenham, but they did have some alternative targets in mind at the time.

Son has made 371 appearances for United across all competitions and has scored 145 goals in that time, establishing himself as one of the best forwards in world football over the past few years.

We’ve taken a look back at Spurs in the 2015 summer transfer window and have picked out seven players they targeted before getting a deal over the line for the South Korea international.

Sadio Mane

Mane was a player in demand following a superb debut season at Southampton, with Spurs eager to bring the forward to north London.

And, while they failed with a bid to lure the Senegal star, Tottenham came even closer to landing their man the following summer.

Back in 2017, The Times reported that Mane came so close to joining Spurs that he visited Hotspur Way to discuss a transfer from the South Coast side.

But Mauricio Pochettino failed to convince Daniel Levy to meet the 24-year-old’s wage demands – with Mane ultimately sealing a £34million switch to Liverpool and becoming one of the most prolific goalscorers in Premier League history. Ouch.

Saido Berahino

Berahino attracted the interest of Pochettino after scoring 20 goals in the 2014-15 season, aged just 21.

But after West Brom angrily turned down multiple bids from Spurs, the striker tweeted he’d never play for Baggies chairman Jeremy Pearce again before going on strike.

His career nosedived spectacularly and Berahino now plays for Cypriot side AEL Limassol.

“[That is] one moment in my life I can say I couldn’t get over it,” Berahino told the BBC World Service in 2021.

“I didn’t know what to do, I got caught up in the hype. I didn’t handle the situation properly, I let it get hold of me. The people around me at the time didn’t know what to do either. Bad news travels fast.

“The media is there to do their job, they build you up and when you are ready to come back down, you will come back down like a roller coaster. I wasn’t focusing on the media, I was more concerned about my career and what I was going through emotionally.”

Anthony Martial

Cast your mind back to 2015 and Tottenham were desperate to bring Martial to the Premier League.

It was reported in numerous circles around England and France that the exciting teenager was one of Pochettino’s first-choice targets for the summer.

There were even reports that Spurs had agreed an £18million fee for the ‘next Thierry Henry’, but the deal never happened and Martial ended up at Manchester United for almost double the price.

Martial has endured a hit-and-miss spell at Old Trafford and has been linked with a move to Tottenham on numerous occasions since. There’s still time…

Andriy Yarmolenko

A proper transfer window staple in the mid-2010s, Yarmolenko was the kind of occasionally thrilling, but usually inconsistent, winger that Tottenham have acquired for fun over their history.

After making his name at Dynamo Kyiv, completing the most assists in the 2014-15 Europa League, the Ukraine international was subject of a £10.6million bid from Spurs and opened talks over a move to White Hart Lane.

But the move fell through and Yarmolenko stayed in Ukraine for another two years before moving to Borussia Dortmund.

He eventually moved to the Premier League in 2018 after West Ham paid £20million for his services – where Yarmolenko was the occasionally brilliant, but usually inconsistent, performer we all expected him to be.

Josip Ilicic

After failing to sign Berahino, Spurs made a late £8.7million bid to sign Ilicic from Fiorentina.

The Slovenia international, who would later go on to spearhead Atalanta’s Champions League campaigns in the early 2020s, was denied his Premier League opportunity as Fiorentina rejected the overturns from Levy.

Ilicic would end up scoring 15 Serie A goals in 2015-16 and you’d have to feel a few of those could have edged Spurs to the title seven years ago.

Jose Callejon

After some excellent displays for Napoli, Callejon was on the radar of both Chelsea and Tottenham in the summer of 2015.

But Spurs never fulfilled their promise of submitting a bid for the Spain international and he remained in Naples until 2020.

After 349 games and 82 goals, Callejon moved to Fiorentina. Now 36, he’s back in Spain with Segunda outfit Granada.

Rony Lopes

Lopes left Manchester City’s academy system on loan in search of more regular football and found it in France, impressing at Ligue 1 outfit Lille in 2014-15 before returning to City at the end of the season.

The Portuguese winger was highly regarded and tipped for bigger things, prompting interest from Spurs, but it was Monaco who would end up snapping him up that summer in a deal worth £9m.

After a slow start and another loan to Lille, Lopes found his stride and remained at Monaco until 2019 when he made the switch to Sevilla. Since moving to Spain, though, he’s found himself out on loan on three separate occasions. He’s also not been capped for Portugal since 2018.

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