Arsenal have had a £15m bid rejected for Celtic’s Kieran Tierney – why do they want the defender and would he want to join the club?
Tierney, a homegrown Bhoy, has become one of Celtic’s most important players since establishing himself in the side as an 18-year-old four years ago.
Arsenal have already tested the Scottish champions’ resolve with a £15m bid, and Sky Sports News understands they remain interested in the player.
Is he ready for a long-rumoured move to the Premier League? Why have Arsenal upped their interest in the 22-year-old? What could Unai Emery expect from the Scotland international – and does he even want to leave?
Here are all the answers you need…
What’s the deal so far?
Celtic boss Neil Lennon said last week he “would expect bids” for Tierney and team-mate Olivier Ntcham this summer, and that he “might have a decision to make” over their futures before the start of next season.
Sky Sports News understands Celtic have rejected a £15m bid from Arsenal for Tierney, with Napoli also very interested in the defender.
That may not be it though. The Gunners are reported to be weighing up their options before going back in with another offer.
It has also been said that Celtic are holding out for a club-record fee – which stands at just over £19m which they received for Moussa Dembele last summer.
Tierney’s rise to date
Tierney established himself in Celtic’s first team as an 18-year-old, ousting first-choice left-back Emilio Izaguirre in the 2015/16 season, but it was during the Brendan Rodgers revolution that he truly flourished.
He was named captain for the first time during a League Cup game in Rodgers’ second season and was named as the players’ and writers’ young player of the season for 2017/18, with Izaguirre having turned down a contract extension due to the manager’s increasing preference for Tierney.
His rise continued in Rodgers’ final season at Parkhead – although fitness issues with a hip injury and subsequent hernia kept him out for most of the second half of the season.
The next Robertson?
Sky Sports News reporter Charles Paterson has watched Tierney since his fledgling Celtic games, and said while there are obvious comparisons to be drawn between him and Robertson, the Celtic defender need not live in the shadows of his Liverpool counterpart.
He explained: “He’s got the same engine as Andy Robertson, which is the comparison. Robertson is a couple of years older than him though.
“Tierney is probably a more natural defender than Robertson, but going forward he’s got the same impact. Because he’s older, Robertson has got that extra couple of years of experience but also physical maturity – Tierney hasn’t fully developed physically. The number of games he has played for Celtic is astronomical.
“He got injured around the Salzburg Europa League game last season – he’d played a lot of games by that point. He’s since been injured for most of the last six months.
“There have been questions over his fitness, but he made his debut at 17 and his international debut at 18, and he’s just been playing and playing ever since. He’s played an awful lot of games – he may have played a bit too much.”
Could he slot straight in at the Emirates?
Tierney has been linked with a move to English football for some time – but it has not come this close to becoming a reality before.
There have been good and bad stories of players moving south of the border, so has there been a hesitancy to bring him to the Premier League and how would he get on in England’s top flight?
“Has he got the ability to be better than Kolasinac and Monreal? Yes, he’s got the whole package. He’s got pace, strength, he can score, he can defend; Celtic supporters utterly adore him. He is to Celtic what Gerrard is to Liverpool, that kind of icon.”
But… might he want to stay with Celtic?
Tierney has previously cast aside talk over his future, while admitting “I can’t predict what will happen in the future” in an interview with the Herald in 2018.
But with Celtic now two years short from an unrivalled decade of Scottish Premiership title wins and the defender a boyhood Bhoys fan, might he be tempted to put himself up with the club’s all-time greats before making his move?
“It’s not a given that he will go,” Paterson said. “Arsenal are a big enough club for him at this stage in his career, it would be a natural progression. The kind of football would suit him.