Arsenal odds-on favourites to sign Celtic star Kieran Tierney - why he's worth his '£26m valuation'

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It has not long turned June and the noise around Kieran Tierney's future is steadily growing.

The Celtic star has been linked with Barcelona and Lyon in the Spanish and French press in the last week alone. At this rate it won't be long before the noise reaches a crescendo.

Kieran Tierney has been linked with moves away from Celtic. Picture: SNS

Kieran Tierney has been linked with moves away from Celtic. Picture: SNS

Each report has mentioned that Premier League giants Arsenal are interested in the player, and given Unai Emery's choices at left-back it is understandable why - his competition would be Sead Kolasinac.

As is the way, certain bookmakers have odds on transfers happening, such is the intensity of transfer window season.

It is allows for bookmakers to get themselves in the news, sending out press releases to highlight prices changes on manager's leaving, manager's being appointed etc.

The appointment of the next Celtic manager saw just that, with stories on Andre Villas-Boas, Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho taking over at Parkhead due to their odds changing.

Going back to Tierney, the Gunners are 8/15 with one bookmaker to sign the 22-year-old before 9 August.

That is quite the price.

To offer context, Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has been quite open about wanting a step up and touted heavily for a move to Real Madrid, is 5/6 to move to the Bernabeu.

However, can Arsenal actually afford Tierney?

Emery has just a £40million budget to work with this summer. If he was to buy the Celtic left-back that would leave him with little left to play with.

That's because Tierney is reportedly valued at £26million if the reports in Spain are anything to go by.

Barcelona were apparently unwilling to pay that for the player as they look for someone to compete with Jordi Alba for the left-back position.

That is why they, and possibly others, are wrong. And here's why:

Talent

He is one of the finest talents Scotland has produced in a decade or two. Since becoming a first-team regular at the Scottish champions at just 18 he has not looked out of place.

Tierney is both a traditional and modern-day full-back. Aggressive in both the defensive and attacking phases, he can match the best wingers when on the back foot, stopping crosses and effectively getting in their face, making it difficult for them.

On the front foot he is progressive, forward-thinking and can deliver a mean cross. He is aided by an excellent acceleration which helps him in one-v-one situations. His ability to beat an opposing full-back should be the envy of many wingers.

Reliability

He has just turned 22 and has already played more than 160 games for Celtic. It would be more if it wasn't for a ruptured cruciate in the 2016/2017 season and a troublesome groin issue this term.

There is an argument that playing so much at such a young age has caused problems but when he plays he rarely drops below a 7 out of 10 and never below a 6. A player you can hang your hat on, one of those whose consistency makes up for the shortcomings of other players, those who are more erratic and harder to predict.

Virgil van Dijk

If Virgil van Dijk has taught teams south of the border anything it is that there are gems in Scotland and players who are capable of stepping straight from the top of Scottish football to the top of English football. The Dutch defender didn't require that period at Southampton, he was ready for an elite club when he left Parkhead.

Andy Robertson

The former Dundee United man is adored at Liverpool and respected across the Premier League. He is phenomenal and his performances this season have finally put to bed the Tierney-Robertson 'debate'.

However, Tierney isn't too far behind his Scotland team-mate and has the potential to be his equal or even better - he is three years Robertson's junior.

Moussa Dembele

When the Frenchman was sold for around £20million to Lyon on the final day of last year's summer window he became the most expensive export from Scottish football. Rangers are using that as a gauge for their valuation of Alfredo Morelos.

Tierney is worth more. A lot more. Because he is better.

Champions League experience

But is he proven at the top level?

Tierney has played 42 times in Europe, including 15 times in the Champions League group stage. He has come up against Raheem Sterling, Arjen Robben and Lionel Messi. Only once has he looked out of his depth, a thumping at Barcelona when the collective were swept aside by Messi and co.

Winning mentality

Tierney is a Celtic fan and a serial winner as a player. That instils a certain type of mentality, one which strives for the best and drives on others. He would be a positive influence in dressing rooms. Especially Arsenal and Manchester United who have both lost hat winning mentality.

Conclusion

Celtic are in a strong bargaining position and are likely reluctant to lose their boy wonder. Tierney is contracted to his boyhood club until 2023 and clearly loves it at Parkhead.

He may see another season with Celtic as the sensible decision, especially after undergoing a double hernia operation.

However, if they are to sell they are right to stick to their guns and demand the reported figure of £26million. If not more.