In an interview with Football FanCast, former Arsenal forward John Hartson has claimed that the Gunners have pulled off a superb piece of business by signing hotly-tipped Scottish full-back Kieran Tierney from Celtic for just £25 million this summer.
Hartson made the comparison between Tierney and that of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who completed a £50 million transfer to Manchester United after just one full season of regular Premier League football.
Arsenal have got a snip. Listen if Wan Bissaka cost Manchester United £50m at £25m they’ve got an absolute snip.
The ex-Welsh international, who was a former favourite at Tierney’s old club Celtic, also went on to note how the 22-year-old is a versatile player who can adapt to several different roles from high pressing wing-back to stoic defensive full-back.
Tierney can play left-back, left centre-back and if Arsenal want to play with a 3, then he provides that option too.
So, have Arsenal really got the better of Manchester United with this bargain deal?
Read Arsenal verdict
Hartson’s assertions are bold but nonetheless well-substantiated because, for all the questions over the gulf in class between the Scottish Premiership and the Premier League, Tierney is a player whose raw attributes seem well-matched not only to Unai Emery’s ever-changing systems but also to the unforgiving tempo of English football.
His ability to rotate across the backline allows him to contribute to multiple different phases of play, pressing high up the pitch and quickly turning over possession or making lung-busting recovery runs to cover in behind Arsenal’s typically slow and aggressive centre-halves.
His turn of pace means he can create space out wide before isolating his marker and beating him with a simple touch and go manoeuvre. Tierney also possesses the ability to dribble at a fast pace, a skill mastered by the likes of Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy – in being able to simultaneously move with the ball at such a pace this makes a defender’s task even more difficult as he is unable to easily show him down the line and take the ball.
Defenisively Tierney shows great promise with both his aerial duel and tackle completion rate, whilst it was already previously mentioned how his pace and versatility allow him to track back into position and make crucial recovery runs.
The rate at which the youngster turns over possession and is able to transition play from defence to attack is pivotal to a side lacking mobility in the midfield, and Tierney is able to use his stamina to make the sort of runs Arsenal often lack on the left-hand side, through not playing with a conventional wide man.