After weeks of fannying about, Arsenal have finally come back in with a record £25m bid for Kieran Tierney, according to reports.
The player is said to be open to a move, while Celtic won’t baulk at the fee, although it remains to be seen if the structure of the offer is to the club’s liking.
It has been suggested that the deal may hinge on add-ons based on appearances. If that’s the case, Celtic will be negotiating a heftier sell-on fee percentage than usual, because a fully fit KT’s value will surely rocket even after a single EPL season.
Unfortunately, it’s increasingly looking like we won’t see the player at the height of his potential.
Henrik Larsson gave us his best years, as did Scott Brown, while the increasingly influential James Forrest looks like being a one-club man, but Tierney will leave as a great ‘what if?.
Having been at Celtic since a boy, and breaking into the side under Ronny Deila in 2015, we’ve watched him go from skinny laddie with lots of promise to a flying machine up and down the left.
A home-grown hero, he’s been on the receiving end of more than his fair of Scottish football’s thuggery, including what could have been a career-wrecker against Motherwell and a broken jaw from a wild Aberdeen elbow in the Invincible Scottish Cup Final.
That game would end in last-minute glory, while Tierney provided a final iconic moment as he lifted the trophy following a run from the hospital through the rainy streets back to Hampden.
He seemed every inch a player who would stay for a crack at nine and, hopefully, ten in a row.
Money talks in today’s football, though, and whispers abounded that he was for the off last year to Everton. It was a shock not only that the club were prepared to cash in on their prize talent, but that Tierney and his advisers were keen on the switch.
In the end, a move to Everton failed to materialise and Tierney was back in the Hoops. His performances remained full of commitment to the cause, but the nagging feeling was that he’d be off before long.
Tierney has taken the captain’s armband on occasion, has four titles to his name, as well as two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.
He’s played a lot of football for a youngster, (170 games). He’s also missed out on a lot of football through injury (over 250 days and almost 50 games for shoulder, hip, hernia, ankle ligaments…plus assorted knocks).
His contribution last year was limited due to injury and it may be this that will convince the Celtic board to take Arsenal’s add-ons offer rather than getting the full price now.
That said, publicly the club have not made plain their desire to keep Tierney and it could be that they are more than willing to punt at such a price as it suits the ‘model’, even though we are currently cash-rich.
If he goes, and it’s not yet certain he will (although a move somewhere now seems only a matter of time), Arsenal will be getting a fine player and a winner, even if he’ll have to temper his expectations of glory at the Emirates.
Even if Celtic get the reported £25m fee, it will seem like small compensation for the fans.
They will lose out on watching one of our own reaching his peak in the green and white jersey.
For Tierney, he’ll lose out on the prospect of becoming the genuine Celtic legend he once seemed destined to be.