Celtic manager Neil Lennon has said that defender Kieran Tierney is close to returning from injury but does not know if he will remain at the club this season.
The Daily Record reported that the 22-year-old left-back had not travelled with the Celtic squad for the Champions League qualifier against CFR Cluj in Romania, adding that Arsenal were lining up a third bid for the player before tomorrow’s English Premier League transfer deadline.
The Daily Record quoted Lennon as saying: “I know these deals can get done at a minute to 12. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t another offer for Kieran, but delighted.
“He’ll be fit in a week or two. He still has some abductor pain, but I think the pubic problem is starting to settle and he’s over the double hernia.”
According to Herald Scotland, Tierney underwent a double hernia operation at the start of the summer and had felt continuing pain from inflammation around his pubic bone.
Over the last two seasons, he has scored five goals and provided 17 assists in 95 appearances, averaging 0.05 goals and 0.18 assists per game.
His absence through injury left Lennon short on left-back cover earlier this summer, but the arrival of Boli Bolingoli in early July remedied that pressing transfer need.
The 24-year-old Belgian has played in all five of Celtic’s competitive matches so far this season, starting at left-back in four and playing a roving wide midfield role in the 5-0 win over Nomme Kalju two weeks ago (via Transfermarkt).
Bolingoli has not registered a goal contribution thus far in the embryonic stages of his Celtic career, but he has been described by Football Scotland‘s Jonathan McFarlane as “explosive going forward” with pace to burn.
However, McFarlane also noted Bolingoli’s lack of positional awareness in leaving gaps at the back, as well as a tendency to cough up possession cheaply.
While Bolingoli certainly seems like an exciting arrival judging by his early season form, Tierney appears to provide more defensive solidity while also contributing effectively in attack. Celtic conceded only 10 goals in the 20 Premiership games in which he played last season, an astonishingly low figure.
At least Bolingoli looks like a good alternative if Tierney ends up being lured to Arsenal, but the extraordinary progress made by the Scotland left-back so early in his career, and the experience he has accrued, is not something that Celtic should relinquish now after resisting Arsenal’s overtures for so long.
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