The English Premier League title may be on the cards for Arsenal after two decades battling for top four at best, but Kieran Tierney isn’t set to play a starring role.
The former Celtic left back has found himself playing second fiddle to Aleksandr Zinchenko as Mikel Arteta’s Gunners set the pace down south, sitting five points clear of nearest challengers Manchester City at the summit, and they have a game in hand on the reigning champions.
Tierney racked up league titles for fun when he was in the Hoops, but he was one of the main characters in that particular show, while he’s been forced to play a supporting role from the bench in North London this term. He’s made just 15 league appearances and could well be set for a change of scene in the summer if his time out of the team continues. Arsenal paid £25million to bring him south from Glasgow three-and-a-half years ago. Given how inflated the English Premier League market is, he’ll likely move on for much more than that despite not being a first pick under Arteta.
His stock remains high and suitors will be of a decent calibre. For Scotland’s sake, the higher a level he plays at, the better, which means a return to the Champions League would be Steve Clarke’s preference. Arsenal fans are, er, fans of the guy but don’t be surprise to see him let go. Who are genuine contenders, though, to take him and who will be barking up the wrong tree? Record Sport takes a look where KT could, and likely won’t, end up...
The Geordies became the richest club in the world when taken over by a Saudi Investment Fund, but they haven’t been throwing the cash at anyone and everyone. Eddie Howe has built cleverly and is right in the mix for a Champions League spot at the end of the season. Local lad Dan Burn is a popular figure and performing well at left back, but the beanpole boy from the Toon is still a centre back to trade and Tierney would offer balance on the left with namesake Tripper on the other side of the park.
Carlo Ancelotti is an admirer of Tierney and has been linked with a move for the Scottish star in previous windows. Ferland Mendy is the recognised left back, but has made fewer league starts for Real than Tierney has for Arsenal. French hotshot midfielder Edouard Camavinga has been repurposed as a left back, but allowing him to return to midfield could be the in Tierney needs at the Bernabeu.
The Old Lady of Italian football was said to be flashing her skirt at Tierney, but a move for him doesn’t really make sense for the Bianconeri. They have to be on their best financial behaviour after being slapped with a 15 point dedication for inflating transfer values in order to pay capital gains tax. They also have two left backs in the shape of Alex Sando and Mattia De Sciglio.
The other Serie A side credited with an interest in Tierney. Left back Dabert is out injured, but they still have Federico Di Marco and Matteo Darmian can cover both sides. Given those options, Tierney would be a pricey acquisition when already well stocked, and other options may be more appealing to Tierney. Napili for instance, would make more sense.
Okay, we’re into the realms of Hoop dreams here, but maybe one day. Tierney’s association with the club will always be there and a return one day seems to be on the cards. But that would have to be well down the line, and with Greg Taylor firmly established as first choice left back, they can afford to wait. Loan signing, anyone?