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Don’t forget about Kieran Tierney

As Arsenal’s transfer prospectus pans out, it’s clear that the faith is still in Kieran Tierney to be exactly what he was signed to be last summer.

Amidst all of Arsenal‘s transfer rumors, leftback Kieran Tierney has quietly moved along in the shadows, awaiting North London glory. The Gunners are looking to sign players of multiple positions this summer, but they seem to be counting on Tierney to be a strong contributor when he is back to full form.

Before the pandemic-induced hiatus that blundered this year’s Premier League campaign, Tierney seemed to be making a strong recovery after dislocating his shoulder in a December victory over West Ham. This came less than two months after he made his Premier League debut.

Tierney, who arrived at Arsenal on the backs of a hip injury, made a strong impression for the Gunners in a Europa League match against Standard Liege. The Scottish defender made the most of his 90 minutes; he had one assist, 92% pass success, 70 passes, 96 touches, seven crosses, four key passes, 2/2 dribbles, 3/3 tackles, two interceptions, seven recoveries and was dispossessed zero times.

Arsenal are looking to lock down a few key positional players during the summer transfer window. While they are in dire need of both a central midfielder and central defender, they seem to be exploring options at rightback as well. They don’t look to be weighing any leftbacks at the moment, however, there is stiff competition within the club already.

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Without either Tierney or Sead Kolasinac for the majority of 2020, Bukayo Saka emerged as not only the leftback of choice but a rising star in that position. While he prefers to play on the left wing and may be more suited for that position, he has been a bright spot for Mikel Arteta.

This means that Tierney will have his work cut out for him, whether the league returns this season or heading into the next Premier League campaign. Not only is he returning from injury, but he will be competing against the speedy young Saka and a Premier League-tested Kolasinac.

While Tierney’s path to a locked-in first-team spot appears to be riddled with tests, he has enormous potential should he make it there. The former Celtic player showed intangible skill at his former club, and gave Gooners a glimpse during a few games with Arsenal. He has the ability to zip down the wing while bullying defenders off his hip, and he can place a cross anywhere he desires within the box. On the defensive side, his strength and grit have been visible in crunching tackles and persevering recoveries.

He has made it evident that he is eager to make an impact as a Gunner. In a recent Arsenal Reddit AMA, the Scot was asked what his favorite thing about London is. He responded “I didn’t move to Arsenal to live in London. I came here to London so I could play for Arsenal.” Tierney is clearly a passionate player, seen in both his time at Celtic or his few games for Arsenal.

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Whether it was him going to each end of the Emirates to show appreciation to the fans or him bodying up defenders after a teammate was fouled, he has shown some attributes that could make him a fan favorite. Kieran Tierney has patiently awaited the kick-off of his Arsenal career thus far and may have a few more months to go, but don’t forget about the potential-ridden fullback.

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