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Manchester City Looking at Arsenal’s 25-year-old Defender as Possible Zinchenko Replacement

Kieran Tierney, Arsenal, Aston Villa

Manchester City are trying to hijack a late transfer for Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney after the Gunners took Oleksandr Zinchenko to Emirates stadium. City boss Pep Guardiola is desperate to add a left-back to his squad before the summer transfer deadline day.

They were linked with Marc Cucurella who was their priority target but the former Brighton & Hove Albion left-back was snapped up by Chelsea. Joao Cancelo has spent the vast majority of his time at City on the left side of defence but the 2022 Premier League Champions want a natural fit for the position to aid their title defence.

Kieran Tierney was a key member of the Arsenal squad which lifted the FA Cup and Community Shield in 2021, against all odds. Although the team looked flustered in the previous campaigns, Tierney was one of the better players. When Arsenal looked for inspiration, Tierney provided it. If you could get points for passion and determination, then the Scottish defender would have delivered on both counts.

Kieran Tierney playing for Arsenal, Manchester City, Kieran Tierney
Image Obtained Via Team Talk

Player Profile

At 18, Kieran Tierney made his senior debut for Celtic FC in the 2014/15 season. With Celtic, he won four Scottish Premier League titles and got three Young Player of the Year awards. In 2019, he grabbed then Arsenal manager Unai Emery’s attention, and the Gunners signed him on the last day of the summer transfer window for £25m to stem Arsenal’s defensive woes.

His versatility, determination and commitment have won over the hearts of many Arsenal fans. Tierney is an attack-minded full-back. He is extremely brave and can play in different positions.

Defensively, his pace and acceleration are great boons which make him capable of catching and shielding against even the quickest of wingers or strikers. Tierney dispossesses his opponents cleanly by using his footwork and technical ability. He offers a strong defensive presence and is particularly successful against right-footed right-wingers attempting to cross from the byline.

He likes to take on opposition players on his flank. His pace and direct running can be a nightmare for the defenders.

With the use of his elegant and pinpoint crosses, he can pick out his teammates in the opposition box. The young Scot can cross from both higher and deeper regions of the left flank and do it with great effect. Most of the time, he looks for a player near the first post who can tuck the ball into the net. Even though Tierney has played across multiple positions, he averages 4.08 crosses per 90 minutes.

Tierney’s Injury Record

Going through his list of injuries just for the 2020/21 season, Tierney spent 54 days away from the pitch and since 2016/17, he has missed several games every season due to a combination of ailments, which included the groin, hip, calf and shoulder injuries as well as ruptured ankle ligaments.

He’s been absent for 83 games at Arsenal – that’s over two entire seasons in just five years which suggests that he needs to train differently or alter the way he plays. The latter could be something incredibly difficult to achieve due to the intensity he brings, which is also something that we all admire about his game.

Manchester City definitely appreciate his quality but his injury record will be a cause of concern for a champion team fighting for silverware in all competitions.

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has squashed the rumours saying that the player will remain at Arsenal, and Tierney also seems to like the challenge of working under the manager. Tierney has the tactical awareness to effectively cover, support and protect the defenders playing next to him.

If he can work on his weaknesses, his gameplay can better suit the approach and tactics Arteta prefers. Perhaps, the Arsenal boss has to protect him and use him sparingly in key games until he becomes physically more resilient. Meanwhile, Zinchenko will provide the necessary cover in the left-back position.

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