Son set for Tottenham debut with Adebayor out in the cold
Mauricio Pochettino is ready to hand Son Heung-min his debut on Sunday, but the Tottenham head coach revealed Emmanuel Adebayor has played his last game for the club.
Son was a big-money arrival from Bayer Leverkusen back in August and is now in line to start at Sunderland this weekend having hit a hat-trick for South Korea during the international break.
He is likely to play in a team that also features Harry Kane, who got back on the goal trail with England having drawn a blank so far for Tottenham this campaign, while Adebayor will remain frozen out after a deadline-day move to West Ham failed to materialise.
"Son scored three goals in his game for the national team and arrived on Monday and trained very well all week," Pochettino said of the 23-year-old.
"When Son started to play in Germany for Hamburg, he played as a number nine, as a striker. After, when Leverkusen signed him, he started to play as number seven and number 11 or he can play number 10. But he is a striker that played wider at Leverkusen."
While Son is in contention to get his career at White Hart Lane up and running on Sunday, one man who appears destined to have kicked his last ball for Spurs is Adebayor.
The 31-year-old was told he was never a part of Pochettino's plans and would be allowed to find a new club but, despite holding an hour-long chat with West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, it is understood Adebayor refused to leave Tottenham unless they paid up the remainder of his contract - believed to be as much as £5million.
With Spurs refusing to cave to his demands, Pochettino confirmed he has held chats with the Togo forward since May to explain he would not play a role going forward. He has not been included in Tottenham's 25-man Premier League squad or been handed a squad number.
"I was clear in all my times in front of you (the media)," he said.
"I was very clear with him, we had a conversation before the end of last season and I explained my idea.
"I was clear with him and I don't need to explain much more, I think it is clear he is not in my idea, in my mind or in the plans for the future of Tottenham.
"In football it is about the present and tomorrow, it is not about yesterday. In football it all runs quick and changes everyday, the more important thing is that I was clear with him and clear with the situation. It is not a problem for him or a problem for us.
"It was clear from the beginning three or four months ago and today it was his decision whether to stay or not.
"We are always available to help him, we have a good relationship. Every time we cross in the corridor it is not a problem because always I was clear with him and he was clear with me.
"The only problem now is to find a solution for him and a solution for the club, something that is good for both sides."
Pochettino also revealed Adebayor is currently training with the under-21 squad after a self-imposed exile from the senior set-up.
"We gave him the opportunity to train with the first team at different times," the Argentinian added.
"But he decided to train with the under-21s. Always we give them the same opportunity to train and treat them the same as any other player.
"This is a sporting decision. I was clear with him. The decision was very clear and to retract it now would not be right. It's about making the right decision for the team and the right decision for the club. This is the decision."
With Kane and Son his only out-and-out attacking options, Pochettino could have included Adebayor in his squad purely as cover for any potential injury crisis - but he is ready to accept any flak that comes his way if supporters decide the striker should have been included later in the season.
"I understand football," he said.
"Maybe some people may complain about the situation, but it is impossible to give all people the things that they want.
"It is not a big issue. We scored a lot last season. I think we were fifth in the table. I think we are the only team that had more than three players scored 10 goals - (Christian) Eriksen, (Nacer) Chadli and Harry Kane.
"It's not a big deal. It's our decision and the people need to understand. Some people agree with me and some people don't. This is football and I respect that."