Arsenal’s pursuit of Kieran Tierney made some developments over the weekend with a reported £25m bid for the full-back being made to Celtic.
Reports suggest that bid has been rejected by the Scottish champions – but Celtic’s refusal to accept Arsenal’s advances may turn out to be a blessing for Unai Emery with plenty in reserve at The Emirates in terms of left-backs.
With Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal Arsenal’s current occupants of the position, while 22-year-old Tierney would add some youth to an ageing backline, a £25m outlay on the Scotsman would surely be better used in other areas.
In essence, Tierney’s addition would not instigate wholesale changes for the club. Plugging a position that already has enough spots filled could be a bit of a risk for Emery – even if his plan is to primarily use Monreal as an auxiliary centre-back.
Sooner or later, Arsenal will have to replenish a centre-back position already looking precariously under-par even before the misdemeanours of resident member Laurent Koscielny – based on last season’s results, that did for the club’s hopes of Champions League football and a sizeable transfer budget.
And in light of said budget, Arsenal are just not in a position of luxury to improve on existing players while gaps are present elsewhere.
Kolasinac was Arsenal’s first-choice left-back for most of the previous campaign, and with nine assists to his name, it would be difficult to suggest that replacing him is the answer to resolving the defensive struggles The Gunners endured particularly towards the end of last season.
As a result, the difference Tierney would make to Arsenal in a functional sense would not be too dissimilar to what Kolasinac already offers the team, with the Scot yet to post double figures in assists during previous Celtic league campaigns.
Although Tierney’s age could offer the longevity that the likes of Kolasinac and Monreal may struggle to, declining to bolster the centre-back position in this year of all years could hurt Arsenal in the immediate future as they look to halt a run of Europa League appearances by qualifying for the Champions League.
Given the future of captain Koscielny remains undecided at The Emirates, there is a distinct possibility that Arsenal are going into next season with fewer options in their problem position than they started with – and during one of two opportunities to increase that total, to end up taking a step back and recruiting elsewhere may become a source of regret for Emery.