After he struck twice in last Saturday’s 4-0 win over Watford, Son took his tally to 18 for the season in all competitions – one short of the total achieved by Cha Bum-kun, who scored 19 times for Bayer Leverkusen in 1985-86. Cha’s campaign remains the most prolific to date from a South Korean in European football.
Son is a superstar is his native South Korea, and Cha has similar status. Now 63, Cha is regarded by many to be the best footballer South Korea has ever produced. He won 127 caps, scored 55 goals and also excelled in Europe, scoring 98 times in 308 Bundesliga appearances.
Cha now believes the 24-year-old is about to surpass his achievement. “I think Son will break my record,” he said. “There is a reason why top clubs in Europe want to sign a player who can score an average of 10 goals a season. It is not an easy thing to do.”
Son has shown outstanding form since Harry Kane damaged ankle ligaments in the FA Cup quarter-final win over Millwall on March 12.
Kane returned as a second-half substitute against Watford. Since he left the field early against Millwall, and made his comeback last Saturday, Son has scored seven times – a hat-trick against Millwall, the double against Watford and vital goals against Burnley and Swansea.
Cha is impressed by Son’s work but also sees room for improvement. He told the Yonhap News Agency: “If you are a forward, you need to penetrate the opponent’s defence, set up others and score using your own ability. Son has shown all of these things recently.
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“However, I think he is still weak in the air. If he can improve that, he will be able to score more goals from headers. I hope he continues to entertain with his good performances.”