Tottenham has confirmed that Son Heung-min will complete his mandatory four-week military commitment while the Premier League remains shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Son was reportedly looking into the possibility last week. He had earned a military service exemption in 2018, when South Korea won the gold medal at the Asian Games to allow him to defer his responsibility (which originally would have been 21 months). With the Premier League shut down indefinitely–and with Son recovering from a broken arm–the forward is back in his home country and will fulfill his national obligations without missing any playing time for his club.
"The club can confirm that Heung-Min Son will commence his mandatory military service in South Korea this month," Tottenham said in a statement. "The forward arrived back in his home country at the end of March where he is currently in quarantine. Our medical staff are in regular contact as he concludes his recovery after fracturing his arm in our 3-2 win against Aston Villa on 16 February and continues to train.
"Sonny had surgery on his arm in South Korea before returning to the UK at the end of February to continue his rehabilitation, prior to the initial announcement of the professional game in England being suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Premier League has since announced that the 2019/20 season will only return when it is ‘safe and appropriate to do so’ and is under constant review. Son will return to London following the conclusion of his military service in May."
Last week, the Premier League extended its suspension, which had a previous return date of April 30. With that clearly not practical given the current climate, the league did not put a new specific date on the calendar, instead saying it "will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so” and with the clearance of government authorities and health officials.
The league does intend to complete the 2019-20 season, saying that “there is a combined objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches to be played, enabling us to maintain the integrity of each competition.”
Tottenham sits eighth in the Premier League table, amid a logjam of clubs jockeying for position in the fight for a top-four finish. Before being ruled out with his arm injury, Son had 16 goals in all competitions, and he had been on a five-game scoring streak as he deputized in place of the injured Harry Kane.