Virgil Van Dijk left Celtic for Southampton prior to his record-breaking transfer to Liverpool (Picture: Getty)That’s not to say that Tierney isn’t necessarily ready for the step up. In some respects, it is a surprise that Celtic have managed to hang onto him for so long considering his reputation has grown exponentially prior to his recent injury woes.Tierney won the Scottish Young Player of the Year and the writer’s equivalent three years on the spin between 2016 and 2018, suggesting that the time has come for him to move to a better league.AdvertisementArsenal, operating under tight financial restraints, will have to explore other avenues when it comes to transfer targets this summer and snapping up the best talent from the smaller divisions around Europe could prove an effective way of doing so.Should Tierney successfully bridge the gap between the Scottish Premiership and the Premier League, Arsenal may well consider his move to be a bargain in the long run.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Advertisement Oliver Young-MylesWednesday 26 Jun 2019 7:01 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link378Shares Advertisement Likewise, Tierney can cause problems on the overlap and with crosses from deep. Indeed, while Robertson has only relatively recently received praise for his creative output, it has long been considered Tierney’s biggest strength since he broke into Celtic’s first-team.According to statistics on ESPNFC, Tierney has registered 21 assists in 102 Scottish Premiership matches, averaging one every 4.85 matches. With the firepower that Arsenal can call upon up front in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, Tierney could even better that rate at the Emirates.AdvertisementAdvertisementAlthough it was Robertson’s offensive play that earned him plaudits last season, the Glaswegian is also an accomplished defender, particularly in one vs one situations against opposing wingers, while his acceleration and energy reserves enable him to make important recovery challenges.Tierney is arguably a more natural defender than his international teammate which in part explains why he has been used as a centre back at times for his national team. It is worth taking into consideration, however, that Tierney has not faced the same calibre of opponent that Robertson has on a weekly basis in the Scottish Premiership.VersatilityWhile there are plenty of similarities between Robertson and Tierney’s respective games – dynamism, attacking quality and ability in individual duels – the latter is a more versatile player having been used in a variety of different positions in different formations.Slightly unfortunately for Scotland, their two best players happen to be left-backs and their various managers have had to try and fit both into the same side accordingly. Robertson, perhaps courtesy of being in possession of the armband, has remained in his default role, while Tierney has filled in elsewhere. Why Celtic’s dynamic defender Kieran Tierney can be Arsenal’s answer to Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson Kieran Tierney has emerged as a key summer transfer target for Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Unai Emery is on the lookout for reinforcements as he plots Arsenal’s overdue return to the top-four next season and at the head of his transfer wishlist is Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney.The Gunners have already seen a £15m offer for the 22-year-old rejected out-of-hand with the Scottish champions holding out for closer to £25m – the sort of fee that would take a meaty chunk out of Arsenal’s reported £40-45m transfer budget.Nevertheless, there is value to Arsenal’s pursuit of Tierney. Considering Manchester United are shelling out £55m on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, a player just five months junior to Tierney but with over 120 fewer club appearances to his name and no European experience, £25m seems reasonable in this market.AdvertisementAdvertisementWith the long-serving Nacho Monreal now 33-years-old, entering the final 12-months of his contract and being linked with a return to Spain and Sead Kolasinac proving to be a defensive liability when asked to play as an out-and-out left-back, Arsenal’s pursuit of Tierney makes a great deal of sense.ADVERTISEMENT Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney (No.6) have been shoehorned into the same Scotland side (Picture: Getty)Despite his age, Tierney has racked up plenty of games, making 170 appearances for Celtic and winning ten major trophies in the process as well as earning 12 senior caps with Scotland. He falls within the club’s transfer budget and crucially, he is a good stylistic fit for Emery’s system.Given his shared nationality and position with Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson, Arsenal supporters will hope that Tierney can have a similarly big impact on their side – should he join – as his international captain has had on Merseyside since his low-key £8m move from Hull City in 2017.Shared attributesTrent Alexander-Arnold made Premier League history for supplying the highest number of assists for a defender in a single season last time out with 12, but just behind him in the charts was Robertson, who managed 11 – a total matched by only Leighton Baines and Andy Hinchliffe in the competition’s history.Without a natural playmaker in midfield, Jurgen Klopp placed a huge creative emphasis on his full-backs with many of Liverpool’s attacks being funnelled out to the flanks. While Alexander-Arnold offered a twin threat thanks to his pinpoint set-piece delivery, though, Robertson was a pure open play creator.That isn’t to say Robertson is a one-trick pony. Renowned for his lung-busting stamina, Robertson regularly created opportunities with pull-backs from the byline but an area of his game which has certainly improved is his crossing from deeper positions – as evidenced by his outstanding assist for Roberto Firmino during Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Spurs in March.PL assists by defenders in 2018-19Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)12Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)11Ricardo Pereira (Leicester City)6Jose Holebas (Watford)6Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal)5Matt Doherty (Wolves)5Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)5 Share Comment Brendan Rodgers played an important role in Tierney’s development at Celtic (Picture: Getty)When Scotland have deployed a system utilising a back three, he has slotted in as a left-sided central defender with Robertson playing higher as a wing-back. However, he has also been deployed as a right-back when Scotland have used a four-man defensive shape.Pertinently, given Emery regularly alternated between back four and back three systems last season, Tierney has experience playing as a wing-back, doing so on occasion under Brendan Rodgers during the Leicester City manager’s time in charge of Celtic.AdvertisementMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityDrawbacks?Perhaps the main question mark over Tierney is in regards to his fitness record as he endured an injury-disrupted 2018-19 season. Tierney barely featured from November onwards, suffering from two separate hip injuries before undergoing groin surgery in May.Tierney also ruptured his cruciate ligament during the 2016-17 season and there is an argument to be made that perhaps he has been exposed to too much professional football during the early stages of his career, having played 182 times for club and country before his 22nd birthday.There could also be concerns over Tierney’s suitability to join one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League from north of the border at a relatively young age, despite his obvious qualities and potential.Victor Wanyama and Virgil Van Dijk, Celtic’s most high-profile and lucrative sales to the Premier League in recent years, both went to Southampton to develop before moving on again to one of the top-six. Obviously, Tierney would not have the same bedding in period at a smaller club.