Heung-min Son Set for Transfer Value Slash if South Korean Military Duty Beckons 

Tottenham Hotspur star Heung-min Son is one of the biggest Asian players in football right now, 
but South Korea’s military conscription laws could see the winger’s value plummet by more than a 
quarter. 
 
At least that’s what the trend indicates among South Korean professionals who head off to serve 
their compulsory time in the nation’s military, which has long been a tradition for the country and 
could see Son called back home in the years to come. 
 
Son has just come to the end of a campaign in which he scored 18 goals—the second-highest 
season total of his career to date—and is listed at a value of £31.5 million on ​Transfermarkt​. It’s 
likely a 25-year-old with the aptitude he’s shown for Premier League football is actually worth more, 
but the website serves as a reliable indicator nonetheless. 
 
South Korean footballers will almost always sign up with the military’s football team, K-League 
outfit Sangju Sangmu FC, during their conscription period in an effort to maintain their careers in 
some form. 
 
But seldom does a period in the army spell good news for a players’ transfer price and overall 
value. 
 
We analysed the top 10 most valuable footballers to represent Sangju Sangmu in each of the past 
three seasons. Of those 30 players, 21 showed a decline in value either during or soon after their 
conscription: 
 
 
  • Military players at Sangju Sangmu who values dropped at or soon after they left the club fell by 27.9% on average
  • Of the 30 players sampled, only nine maintained their value at the club or indicated an increase in value

It’s worth noting there are other factors that could have influenced this, such as their standard of 

play suffering or increasing age, but the trend appears too overwhelming to be coincidence. Less 
than a third of those players sampled showed either an increase or simply maintained thee value 
they had upon joining the military team’s ranks.
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2018-05-18
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