Neil Lennon: Celtic will stand firm on £25m price for Kieran Tierney

Neil Lennon insists Celtic will stand firm on their £25 million valuation of Kieran Tierney after turning down two offers from Arsenal for the left-back.

Neil Lennon has warned Celtic will not be pushovers in any Kieran Tierney transfer. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire
Neil Lennon has warned Celtic will not be pushovers in any Kieran Tierney transfer. Picture: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire

Celtic manager Lennon believes any club purchasing Tierney for the price set by the Scottish champions will be getting a “bargain” as he highlighted the £50m fee Manchester United paid Crystal Palace for right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka last month.

Arsenal are expected to return with a third bid for Tierney this week, while Italian club Napoli are also monitoring the 22-year-old’s situation. The Scotland international is currently sidelined as he recovers from the double hernia operation he underwent in May but Lennon insists there would be no issues in terms of passing a medical if a move was agreed this month.

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Lennon stressed that Celtic’s preference would be to hold on to Tierney, who is under contract until 2023, while the player himself is understood to be happy to stay if the club’s asking price is not met.

“We are at the £20m-plus mark [with the last bid] and it has been rejected out of hand,” said Lennon. “It’s up to Arsenal or anyone else to reach our valuation of Kieran. We think he is a top quality player, one of the best in Britain. The transfer fee should merit that.

“It’s huge money but he’s a huge player. It’s important that we have a valuation of the player and if it’s not met then it’s not met.

“We don’t have to sell. This is what we’re saying – we don’t want to sell. But sometimes players leave clubs and even big players leave big clubs.

“Ronaldo left Manchester United, for example, and they’re the biggest club in the world. So sometimes these things happen.

“From a business point of view it may be substantial for the club but from a footballing point of view long-term it may be detrimental to us.

“Look, we’ve had some great players here and there’s no question Kieran could play in the Premier League.

“We’ve had Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Moussa Dembele – all these players - and Kieran is as good and in that bracket.

“So he has a price and a valuation and the way the market is in England it could even look like a bargain when you think of Wan-Bissaka going for £50m. Listen, we can’t think about what clubs do in England because we can only affect our own criteria. But the bar for Kieran has been set by the club and they’re pretty adamant they’re not moving on it. For nobody.”

Lennon is relaxed about the situation, despite the uncertainty over Tierney’s future as Celtic’s Champions League qualifying campaign gathers pace.

“It’s not a problem for me if it drags on,” said Lennon. “The other thing is he is still not fit. He is away doing his rehab with the physios.

“I wouldn’t have thought that could be a problem with any move. Do I think he would pass a medical? Yeah, I would.

“It is just one of these ongoing conditions that causes discomfort and he was in a lot of discomfort towards the end of last season, to the point where he was struggling to get out of bed.

“It’s a question of trying to let that settle. He is back out on the grass now, which is a good sign. I’d like to think in the next two or three weeks he will be maybe not be playing, but back into full training anyway.”