What Celtic stand to gain as report links Kieran Tierney with another La Liga suitor

By Euan Davidson

February 22, 2022

Former Celtic defender Kieran Tierney may have left the Bhoys in 2019, but his career progression and the heights he could hit remain interesting, especially since he’s been linked to a La Liga move.

Two months ago, Spanish reports credited Real Madrid with interest in the former Bhoys stalwart. Now, according to Culé Mania, a Barcelona-specific website owned by Global Media Group, Barcelona are interested, too. Los Culés could use another left-back, with Jordi Alba progressing in years.

All very interesting, but what’s the advantage for Celtic fans, beyond a smugness at watching an Academy product potentially star in El Clasico? Well, a 15% sell-on clause agreed by Celtic and Arsenal in 2019 [Sun] remains a fascinating wrinkle in any Kieran Tierney saga.

Photo by Alex Nicodim/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you cast your mind back two summers, you’ll remember that there was a prolonged back-and-forth between Celtic and Arsenal over Kieran Tierney. Celtic held firm for a lucrative sell-on fee, knowing that Tierney could succeed in North London. 15% was agreed, and it could see the Hoops net a sizeable chunk of whatever Real Madrid or Barcelona could pay for Tierney.

KT, who can play as either a left-back or a centre-back, has been hailed by Scotland manager Steve Clarke. Clarke reckons Tierney is the “best overlapping centre-back in world football” [High Performance Podcast]. The Arsenal man is considered captain material in North London, but is seemingly destined for bigger things.

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What could Kieran Tierney net Celtic as La Liga giants hover?

Admittedly, 15% doesn’t sound like a huge amount. However, consider any fee involved here. Arsenal would surely be looking for at least £40m for Tierney, were they to entertain offers. Given that he signed for £25m in 2019, and how the market has changed since then, it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

That would result in a cool £6m profit for Celtic, which would surely be welcomed by the Parkhead bean counters. When Celtic sold Tierney, they would’ve been aware that £25m was just the start.

However, how keen would Arsenal be to sell the roving left-back? That remains unclear.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Mikel Arteta has largely picked KT when available, and he has the 7th most minutes of any Gunners player this season [WhoScored?]. Having lost Aubameyang to Barcelona, it seems unlikely that Arsenal would want to move on from another big dressing room presence.

Still, from a Celtic perspective? Let the rumours swirl. Not only because it’d be incredible to see a Celtic Academy graduate compete at such an elite level, but because of what it’d net Celtic.

Given the prudent spending we’ve seen under Ange Postecoglou, £6m would be a real, significant boost. We’ve seen star players signed for well under that, including the bargain signings of Josip Juranovic at £2.5m, and Matt O’Riley for just £1.5m.

Kieran Tierney, a life-long Celtic fan, can continue to help out his bhoyhood club well after moving on.

Read more: Yet another pundit labels Celtic title-favourites after previously ridiculing Ange Postecoglou