London: Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min will have surgery this week after fracturing his right arm in the weekend’s win over Aston Villa and is expected to be out for a “number of weeks”, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old, who scored twice in the 3-2 win, has been the club’s primary goalscorer in the absence of injured striker Harry Kane.
The club, who are fifth in the league, gave no time frame for Son’s return. The South Korean has nine goals and seven assists in the league so far this season.
“Following surgery, our medical staff shall be reviewing management options for Son’s rehabilitation with the player expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks,” the club said in a statement.
Spurs play German side RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
Having joined RB Leipzig when they were still in Germany’s second division, Peter Gulacsi has seen the club grow from Bundesliga new boys and on to a first appearance in the Champions League knockout stage.
The Hungarian goalkeeper is relishing Wednesday’s last 16, first leg when the ambitious eastern German club, bankrolled by energy drinks giants Red Bull, face Spurs.
“It’s a new experience to play against an English side. It’s a big opportunity and a big test,” Gulacsi said.
“If we have a good day, maybe we could surprise them.”
While Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham sit fifth in the Premier League, Leipzig head to London in the midst of a battle at the top of the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, with whom they drew 0-0 earlier this month.
“It’s going to be two difficult games, but this is what you look forward to,” Gulacsi said of the Spurs tie. “These are the games we have been fighting to play in.”
The last-16 showdown is the latest step in Leipzig’s rise over the last decade since starting in Germany’s fifth tier in 2009.
Gulacsi joined from Red Bull Salzburg in 2015, and the club won promotion to the top tier in his first season.
In their debut campaign in the elite, Leipzig shook up the established order, briefly going top before finishing second behind Bayern.
Now they are enjoying their second Champions League campaign, with ambitious 32-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann steering Leipzig to the last 16 for the first time in his debut season in charge.
Leipzig’s success has been built around a core of key players.
Along with Gulacsi, Sweden winger Emil Forsberg, Denmark’s Yussuf Poulsen, Austrian winger Marcel Sabitzer and Germany full-backs Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg played for the club in the second division and have gone on to establish themselves at international level.
“If you look at the team, there has been a lot of changes, but we had a group of six, seven players who provided the base we have built on,” said Gulacsi.
“The team has grown, the city is buzzing about football.
“It’s a continuity, we are trying to go step by step and I am happy to be part of that.”
Wednesday’s game will be a return to England for Gulacsi, who left hometown club MTK Budapest to join Liverpool in 2007 as a raw 17-year-old.
He spent six years with Liverpool, yet never made a competitive appearance with Pepe Reina the incumbent goalkeeper.
Instead, Gulacsi learnt his trade on loan at lower-league sides Hereford United, Tranmere Rovers and Hull City.
Catch the match
- Atalanta vs Valencia (12 am)
- Tottenham vs RB Leipzig (12 am)
- Live telecast on BeIn Sports