Could Kieran Tierney be the long-term successor to Leighton Baines?
Everton are reportedy preparing a £25 million bid for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, handing the 21-year-old a £60,000 a week contract. Marcel Brands and Marco Silva are in the market for a left-back this Summer, and as Leighton Baines turns 34 next season, Tierney could be the man to take his place when the fan favourite decides to hang up his boots. We’ve taken a closer look at Bainesy’s potential apprentice, and his performances since coming through the ranks at Celtic Park.
The three-time PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year has established himself as one of the first names on the teamsheet for Celtic in recent years, since coming into the first-team fold in 2015. He attracted Premier League attention within a year of his breakthrough, but ended up signing a new contract in 2016. However, manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that one of his most prized assets could leave during this window with the right offer, and Everton are ready to table just that.
The 5’10” Scot is versatile and has appeared across the back line for The Hoops, but it is his favoured left-back berth where he would be required to play on Merseyside. He was part of Rodgers’ treble-winning side last season, making over 50 appearances overall. He managed 11 assists and four goals in that time, including a brilliant 40-yard strike against Kilmarnock in the Scottish League Cup as team captain of a young side. Pace is one of his best assets, and he was fouled 67 times last season, often keen to get forward to put a cross in. Tierney is not averse to the odd shot, taking aim 39 times last season, but just 16 of those were on target. He has often been employed in a wing-back role, so would be comfortable in a back-four or -five.
In comparison with Baines last season, Tierney has an almost identical pass success rate of 80%, and had a similar average performance rating according to WhoScored.com – Tierney averaging 6.75 out of ten to Baines’ 6.70. Similarities can be drawn between our current left-back and this prospective one, the latter standing three inches taller.
Tierney has made nine appearances for his country, and was born not too far from his prospective employers, over in the Isle of Man. He moved over to Scotland as a young child, and has been on the books at Celtic since the age of seven. The youngster’s page on TransferMarkt values him at just £4.5m which is well below what the Toffees are reported to be offering, but promising performances in the Premier League could see that value rise considerably should he make the switch.
Tierney could be the future in terms of the left-back berth at Goodison, and it remains to be seen whether Silva would displace Bainesy with the potential new signing or whether Tierney will be eased in alongside the 33-year old, initially as back-up if we were to capture what appears to be a special young talent.