With a blockbuster summer transfer window looming just a few months away, it appears Kieran Tierney could be one of this year’s main characters.
The Arsenal and Scotland star has been touted as a target for none other than Real Madrid in recent weeks, with Florentino Perez said to be determined to broker a deal.
Tierney has become an integral part of Mikel Arteta’s rebuild at the Emirates, one that now appears to be gathering serious pace.
The Gunners have won six of their last seven to emerge into the Premier League top four, putting them in pole position to claim the final Champions League place for next season.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that just when Madrid’s interest has bubbled to the surface, so too has talk of Tierney becoming Arsenal captain.
Club legend Ray Parlor has been among big names to put the 24-year-old forward for the role.
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And that call has now been echoed by Paul Dickov, a fellow Scot who played for the London club between 1990 and 1996.
“Kieran Tierney’s just a wonderful player, not just as a defender,” said Dickov at an OLBG media event. “But it’s very rare you see a defender who likes to defend as well. The modern defender prefers to play out and higher up the pitch, but Kieran thrives on his defensive duties.
“He’s got so much quality going forward and without sounding disrespectful to Arsenal, I’m amazed that there weren’t more clubs in for him.
“I’ve watched him from a young age at Celtic and when he signed for Arsenal, I thought that was a fantastic signing. You could see at a young age the quality he had, he brings so much to the team and he’s a leader. He’s a winner and I think going forward he’s going to be made Arsenal captain.”
Dickov has no doubt Tierney has what it takes to play for Los Blancos – but he just can’t see his old club letting the former Celtic star go.
He does, however, admit that the player’s own ambitions could be a pivotal factor.
“I think Kieran would cope anywhere, not only because of his ability, but because of his professionalism and his attitude,” he said. “He does everything right and he works really hard on his game.
“But if I’m being honest, I’ll be amazed if Arsenal let him go.
“Mikel Arteta is building something there at the minute, it’s a good young side with a mix of experience in it.
“I think I can see Kieran Tierney being Arsenal captain for a long, long time and it’ll come down to whether he wants to leave or not as well, but I don’t know.
“But I’d be amazed with the decision if he left. Arsenal are building something under Arteta and I’d be surprised if they let one of the best players go.
“They’ve done that so many times in the past and I think it’s time for Arsenal to stop that trend if they want to build for the future.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.