The transfer saga of this summer, there’s always a few, could be the one between Arsenal, Celtic and Kieran Tierney. The Gunners have had a £15m bid rejected with Scottish Premier League champions demanding £25m – which Arsenal have since offered yet that deal appears to have been rejected too due to the instalments offered. It now seems that a deal for the 22-year-old is becoming increasingly out of reach with Celtic boss Neil Lennon claiming the bids could have reached the “end game.”
But is the Scotland international worth any more? Let’s take a look at last season – he played 40 matches in all competitions registering a goal and six assists. That’s a decent enough return for a full-back, not quite Andy Robertson’s level of 13 assists but still, good. Tierney’s biggest issue is potentially his injury record having missed 45 matches over the last three seasons. That has to be somewhat worrying when considering the potential money involved in a move. Left-back is a glaring need for Unai Emery with Nacho Monreal’s age becoming a concern and Sead Kolasinac’s performances far from being up to the standard.
Nicolas Tagliafico was an instrumental figure in Ajax’s amazing year – a league and cup double plus reaching the Champions League semi-final taking out two European giants in Real Madrid and Juventus along the way. The Argentina international averaged a rating of 7.47 in the league and recorded six goals and six assists in 46 appearances in all competitions. His key abilities include crossing and key passes, something that Kolasinac seems to lack any composure with. He could be available for just £15m which is considerably cheaper than Tierney and they may well be able to enact revenge on arch-rivals Tottenham for their pursuit in William Saliba.
Porto ace Alex Telles is probably ready for a step-up to the big-time having only been given a whiff of it during a one-season loan spell at Inter Milan in 2015-16. The 26-year-old has become a consistent performer in Portugal this season – in 53 appearances in all competitions, Telles has scored six and assisted 13 goals. That’s a phenomenal return for a left-back. He features in the WhoScored Best XI for the Liga NOS last term and exceedingly outperformed (average rating of 7.51) both Monreal (6.97) and Kolasinac (6.61).
Whilst neither of the previous two have any Premier League experience, a man who does is Bernardo and he’s a pretty under-the-radar option. Last summer the Brazilian joined Brighton in a £9m deal and was one of the only new signings to come out with any credit last season. The 24-year-old is very strong in the tackle and likes to play short passes which would ultimately fit Unai Emery’s system. He’s picked up invaluable experience in England’s top-flight last season which will only help him improve going forward. His versatility could prove to be an incredible asset too with doubts over whether Hector Bellerin will make the start of the season and Ainsley Maitland-Niles proved that he isn’t really a full-back averaging a measly 5.92 when played there.