Tottenham’s EFL Cup loss to Chelsea was costly in more ways than one. While they’ll head into the second leg on January 12th behind 2-0 on aggregate, they will also be without one of their top weapons in Son Heung-min. In his press conference Friday, Antonio Conte stated that Son was initially withdrawn to give him rest but the next day he felt muscle pain in his leg leading to him getting a scan.
The scan discovered an injury that will keep him out for a few weeks, likely until the international break. Conte said, “http://www.cbssports.com/”He’s an injury. I don’t know but probably they could stay without training session until the end of this cycle, before the international break.” It’s quite a blow that will see him miss matches versus Chelsea (League Cup), Arsenal, Leicester, and Chelsea. At a time when points are critical being only two points off of a Champions League place, Spurs will have to come up with solutions quickly.
On the season, Son has eight goals and three assists to lead the team in scoring. With a blow like this, it’s important to look at likely replacements.
Spurs have long been linked to Adama Traore in the transfer market but it is unknown if that will get over the line. Conte could also use him as a wing back which would push Lucas Moura into a front two with Harry Kane for the time being.
Focusing on players with the club, Steven Bergwijn and Bryan Gil are the likely replacements. Conte spoke about Bergwijn directly as he steps up his own recovery from injury saying, “I spoke with Steven today and his feeling is good. He’s improving day by day, step by step. My expectation and the medical department’s expectation is to come back very soon. It will be very important to recover Steven Bergwijn.”
He could come in and operate in a front two or three to give Conte flexibility. Gil on the other hand is a pacey left winger who likes to be direct on the dribble. With Son in the side, Gil has been limited to cameo appearances spelling Moura but he could offer something different for Conte in a front three moving forward if he shows that he can be trusted in big fixtures.
While Spurs can’t secure top four in two weeks, with these fixtures they can fall out of contention as a trying January could be Conte’s toughest test since taking over.