Tierney is a loss but not as great as Larsson was to Celtic
Since news broke last night that Celtic had accepted a £25 million offer from Arsenal for Kieran Tierney, a number of thoughts ran through my head over the impending transfer.
Is it a good deal for the club? Will the club be able to replace him? Should he stay for 9IAR? Is he being forced out by Lawwell? Or is it a case of the player wanting to move on?
Whatever the real reasons behind Tierney’s impending departure from Celtic are, Celtic are losing a great player and Arsenal are gaining a superb player that will inevitably be wasted on a club like the Gunners. A club who values success as finishing in the Champions League places in the English Premier League rather than winning silverware.
After spending much of the transfer window chasing Tierney, it was no great surprise that Arsenal would come in for the 22 year old again with the deadline day looming, however it was the timing of the announcement that was unexpected - during Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Romanian champions Cluj in their Champions League qualifier.
In his post-match comments, manager Neil Lennon looked to be playing his cards close to his chest over the news of Tierney’s departure as if he already knew that the deal was on the cards but that he didn’t want to discuss it at that time - other than hoping that he would get to see a percentage of the transfer fee to spend on strengthening his side further.
Time for Celtic to Strengthen
With Tierney’s departure all most secured and the club holding out for much [if not all] of the £25 million upfront - along with a sell on clause - it is now time that Peter Lawwell and the Celtic board give Lennon a sizeable chunk of Tierney’s transfer fee to bring in new players.
It was self evident during last night’s game that Boli-Bolingoli is not a defensive minded left back and is more suited to the role that looks set to be vacated by Scott Sinclair - who look destined to return to English football after being left out of Wednesday’s Champions League squad.
With the English transfer window closing at 5pm today, it will give clubs like Celtic a better chance of signing players that would have almost certainly been holding out for a move to an English club. And one player that we should almost certainly be going for is Kilmarnock’s Greg Taylor.
He played understudy to both Tierney and Liverpool’s Andy Robertson performing well in the recent international game against Belgium for Scotland - despite the 3-0 scoreline against the world’s top ranked nation.
Further funds could be used to further strengthen our defensive options with another centre back and right back needed - albeit Israeli defender Hatem Elhamed looks to have settled perfectly into the position despite some ITK Celtic fans on twitter rubbishing him before he even kicked a ball in anger. He only needs to work on his fitness and it looks like Celtic have picked up another great bargain.
Tierney will certainly be a loss to Celtic as he has been a rock for Celtic at left back since he broke into the first team under former Celtic manager Ronny Deila, and while any replacement will be immediately compared to Tierney - any replacement must be given time to bed into the side and not belittled or shot down as some inferior player simply because he isn’t Tierney or didn’t cost millions to buy.
Larsson was a bigger and more devastating loss
Unlike some other Celtic fans who seem to be heartbroken at Tierney’s departure, I guess the Celtic Da in me is less than upset given the fact I experienced Henrik Larsson leave Celtic for Barcelona. A true legend of the club - and he didn’t bang the club crest with his fist, he didn’t sit among the fans watching the games when injured, and he didn’t pick up a microphone to sing in front of the Green Brigade.
Larsson produced some of the greatest moments I have ever witnessed as a Celtic fans - from his goals against Rangers to his goals in our UEFA Cup run to Seville in 2003. The ecstasy of his winning goal against Boavista in the semi final to his equalisers against Porto in the final. His loss was devastating, he felt it also as he broke down in tears on the pitch and in front of the cameras afterwards.
And when he turned the tide for Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final in 2006 to help secure a 2-1 win over Arsene Wenger’s side - the underlying emotion of pride swept through me as I witnessed one of Celtic’s greats helping one of Europe’s premier clubs win the premier club cup competition. Although at that point I still wished he was in Celtic colours.
Tierney owes Celtic and the fans nothing
Tierney was well on his way to becoming a future Celtic legend and potential successor to Scott Brown - but he will leave Celtic as a player who gave us three and a bit good years of service and helped us to an historic treble treble. Can he be talked about in the same regard as the likes of Scott Brown, Mikael Lustig and James Forrest? Probably not but that doesn’t mean he should be abused by the wee wanks in our support.
He should be thanked for what he has done for the club, the great moments he has given the fans and should be sent on his way with heartfelt goodbyes - Tierney owes Celtic and the fans nothing. Singing into a microphone or standing among the Green Brigade while out injured doesn’t mean we can force him to stay at the club or pile demands onto his young shoulders when he needs to look out for himself and his family.
Football is his profession and for him to attain greater status within the game he needs to leave the confines of Scottish Football to play against a better quality of opposition - and if he is to see his wage triple overnight then congratulations to him, we would all jump at such a chance in our working life.
A football career is a short one - as John Kennedy can testify too - but with Tierney he has around 11 years remaining to earn enough money to secure his and his family’s future. So forgive me for not lambasting him or calling him a rat like some others are - as I would do the exact same in his shoes.
Players come and go but the club will live on.
The king is dead….long live the king - whoever that may be.