A reported €20 million bid for South Korean star Son Heung-min by Liverpool is already under threat from that country’s conscription rules.
The €20 million sum would represent a doubling of the fee that brought the 22-year-old to Leverkusen from Hamburger SV in the summer of 2013, and his solid performance this season for both club and country have made him a target of Brendan Rodgers and company.
“I know Liverpool have observed [Son] several times and would like to have him in the team,” Son’s agent, Thies Bliemeister, told Bild.
But the potential long-term investment is far from assured; Son will need to begin his mandatory military service by his 28th birthday in 2020, making it difficult for the Anfield residents to commit to a long-term signing.
Although South Korea grants exceptions to athletes who earn any medal in the Olympics or a gold medal in the Asian Games, Son did not participate in South Korea’s bronze medal squad in London or their 2014 Asian Games-winning side.
Barring a podium finish in Rio 2016, Son could follow in the path of players such as 2012 AFC Player of the Year Lee Keun-ho and spend two years with army club Sangju Sangmu FC in the second-division K League Challenge.