When the spinning carousel of transfer talk acknowledges football's most desired stars, Heung-Min Son's name is rarely mentioned.
And it doesn't make a lick of sense.
Following a scoreless opening stanza in the Champions League last-16 first-leg clash at Tottenham's temporary gaff, Son deftly ran off the back of central defender Dan-Axel Zagadou to meet Jan Vertonghen's perfect cross with a crisp side-footed nudge. From there, Mauricio Pochettino's side would suffocate the budding Bundesliga leaders before effectively cementing the matchup with tallies from Vertonghen and substitute Fernando Llorente in the final 10 minutes.
As arguably Spurs' most important player this season, Son deserves much of the credit.
When Kane limped off with an ankle concern in a defeat to Manchester United days before Alli was also ruled out until early March, Tottenham's title chances were largely disregarded. Even their top-four hopes were doubted. Instead, Spurs have won four on the spin in the league and remain in third, just five points adrift of joint-leaders Liverpool and Manchester City. They're also nine points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United, and 10 up on London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. Instead of mucking around and potentially plummeting into a Europa League spot, Spurs are aiming high.
Two domestic cup eliminations have dented hopes of ending an 11-year trophy drought, though it's also freed up a congested slate of fixtures. Spurs can now focus on bigger matters. The turnaround is remarkable, and much like Son, Tottenham are no longer an underrated entity.
The 26-year-old now has 13 goals and a half-dozen assists between the Champions League and England's top flight. Son's 3.8 shots per 90 minutes in the Premier League is better than Kane's 3.7 and Eden Hazard's 3.0. That points to the likable South Korean's ability to create opportunities for himself. Son is also tidy in possession, dispossessed an average of 1.7 times per 90 minutes, a lower number than Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Mohamed Salah, and Raheem Sterling. He also averages fewer unsuccessful touches than any of the aforementioned group of stars.
As much as the metrics tell the story of a bona fide star, so too do his virtues that aren't easily translated to a stat sheet.
A constant among the front-four in Pochettino's preferred 4-2-3-1, Son's intelligence and movement creates nightmares for defenders and opportunities for attacking colleagues Kane, Alli, and Christian Eriksen. Able to stay wide on either wing or drift into central positions, the two-footed stud has developed a keen understanding with Kane, with the Englishman capable of dropping deep to ping perfectly weighted one-touch passes to the streaking South Korean. All of this caters well to Tottenham's penchant for triangular passing patterns, and Son's positional fluidity is like a shot of Hemlock for bewildered opponents.
Son's performance against a visibly shell-shocked Dortmund was hardly a surprise; the goal was his 10th against the club dating back to his forays in Germany's top flight.
It should be no surprise to anyone. Son's achievements have long been on par with football's best, and the affable attacker has received nary the attention.
It's time that changed.