It has been an exciting summer for Arsenal transfer-wise, with the club agreeing a deal with left-back Kieran Tierney just before the closing of the window on 8 August. It took some time to finalise the deal and despite the fact that Tierney has had a double back hernia operation during the summer and is only now starting to get back to shape, there are great expectations of and a lot of interest in this 22-year-old, who is joining the Gunners after playing for Celtic since the age of seven.
Tierney, who was born in 1997 in Douglas, Isle of Man, moved to Scotland as an infant and supported Celtic in his early childhood. He joined the club at the age of 7, went through the youth system and made his first team debut in April 2015. It was a breakthrough season for Tierney, one in which he made 30 appearances and was awarded the Scottish Players’ and Writers’ Young Player awards. Although Celtic won the league title that season and Premiere League was showing interest in signing him, Tierney agreed a five-year deal with Celtic which was to keep him at Parkhead until 2021.
The following season, however, was marred by injuries, as he first suffered an ankle ligament damage, from which it took two months to recover, succeeded by another month of treatment for a recurring shoulder injury and then a jaw injury in January 2017. Despite the injuries and absences, he still managed to appear in 40 matches and was awarded the Scotland Young Player of the Year Award for the second year in a row, being the first one to achieve it since 1986, when the award went to Craig Levein for two consecutive years.
In 2017-2018 Tierney was named captain of his team, made over 50 appearances, had some great assists, won Players’ and Writers’ Young Player awards (for the third consecutive year!) and extended his Celtic contract until 2023. Unfortunately, on his way up he was again interrupted by hip injury and a hernia, from which he is still recovering.
After spending his boyhood and adolescence cheering and playing for Celtic, Tierney says that making the decision to leave the club was the most difficult he had ever had to make. After making one dream come true, however, he feels he is ready to take the next step.