Kieran Tierney, Real Life Football Manager

The People’s Poet Edgar Guest penned these words at the turn of the last century,

“You are the person who has to decide. Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside; You are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind. Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are”.

If it’s true and £25 million is the pre-agreed trigger where Kieran Tierney and his agent get to enter negotiations with a potential suitor then all seems fair.

Across many media outlets it’s being claimed that Arsenal after much consideration have now decided to offer the amount Celtic set as their line in the sand.

So what now?

I assume we advise the player we’re now in a position to open talks, we no doubt negotiate the payment structure and we also thrash out what percentage the inevitable sell on clause will be.

From there I guess Kieran’s representatives head for North London and see if the financial package offered suits the player. He gets a look around and informs Celtic it’s a place he likes or dislikes and we move forward from there.

At least I hope that’s what happens.

You see I remember when Aiden McGeady was sold to Spartak Moscow it was sold to supporters that the player wanted the payday and it was he who chose to leave.

Aiden however has since said he wasn’t given much choice. It was more along the lines of you’re going pal, the bid is massive and we can rebuild a squad with the funds. Pressured.

We did build that squad on the back of those funds, in fact we invested well and the players we purchased made the club a hell of a lot of money in the long run as well as in the interim giving the supporters a rather successful side.

There seems to be a lot of similarities with the Kieran Tierney deal. Lennon is the manager again and he has his eyes on a rebuilding job for the next 3 or 4 years most of which I’m sure he’d like done over the next couple of transfer windows if not this one.

I’m sure the Board are looking at balance sheet and it would smack of negligence for the board operating in a Scottish market to reject a bid of £25 million. In fact I’m sure some of the shareholders would ask some rather sharp questions in correspondence with the Chief Executive if the offer was refused.

I’m also certain Lennon is mentally spending the incoming funds where even if he was only given half the fee in return he’d probably get as near as damnit to the finished squad he wishes to build.

Give any manager the opportunity to sell a left back and build a squad it’s pretty much a no brainer if you remove the emotion from the equation. It’s not like selling a playmaker or a 30 goal striker no matter how good he is, it’s a left back.

On paper it’s not losing anything from the spine of the team it’s a fantastic opportunity to get funds and the core of the side isn’t disrupted. Though whether we’d close the door to exits at that point I’m not convinced of. Have I mentioned previously I still have trust issues with this board? I think I might have.

I’ve even heard that due to the player’s recent injury issues we should take the money and run (assuming he’d pass that medical I guess, not quite a given that is it Celtic?), that we’ve performed adequately without him for long periods and that we’ve already got a fine left back in. We just purchase another and move on.

I don’t actually disagree with any of that if I’m looking at it in a cold business-like manner, I’ve already done exactly the same thing. In my mind I’ve resigned myself to losing the player. I’ve also sold the malcontent Olivier Ntcham.

With the funds I’ve purchased Meling from Rosenborg, Gumny from Lech Poznan, got another loan deal sorted for Benkovic, upped the offer for Romaine Sawyers from Brentford and shelled out £10 million plus on his striker teammate Neil Maupay.

My squad is a belter and I’m chuffed to bits that even with the sale of a Celtic legend I’ve made the squad not only stronger than what ended the season. I’ve got a lot of fine players hitting their peak. If I can keep that squad together the 9 and 10 are in the bag and I’d fancy a wee squeak at getting out the Champions’ league group stages and making Celtic a very relevant force in European football. After two years I’ll even sell a few at even more of a profit and start again. Real life ‘football manager’.

But you know what I don’t want it to be like that, I don’t want to think that way. Real life isn’t ‘Football Manager’ and I don’t want to see Kieran Tierney feeling he has to leave simply because and offer of £25 million has been reached.

I don’t wish to have the lad feeling as he travels on his private jet to London City airport that he has to sign on the dotted line because so many people are relying on him doing just that. Like Jimmy McGrory did all those years ago.

I want Kieran Tierney to be offered the chance to make his own mind up on this matter like McGrory eventually did (though not without a great deal of pressure of course).

I don’t want Kieran Tierney feeling he needs to accept the offer Arsenal make that he has to get through that medical or he’s letting everyone down.

I want Kieran Tierney to be allowed to make his own mind up. I want him to be able to choose to sign because that what he wants to do, that he believes moving to Arsenal is the best thing for his career. I’d prefer him to feel he can get back on his plane return to Glasgow and say. Yes I’m going to go there I’ve got a good feeling about it, or return to his rehab and say, that’s not for me I’m staying here, without any repercussion either way. He’s earned that.

Yes the if deal goes through, he would become the most expensive player in Scottish football history, £25million move blows away the £19.7million Celtic pocketed when Moussa Dembele joined Lyon in August last year.

Tierney has won four league titles, and played in two winning Scottish Cup sides He’s also won two League Cup winning finals for Celtic. He is an Invincible and therefore a legend at 22 years of age.

But he’s also not Dembele, he’s never agitated for a move. He’s not acted like a spoilt brat like Olivier Ntcham and publicly tried to work his ticket.

All of this in my eyes means Kieran Tierney and only he and his family decide if this move is for him or not, or indeed a move to any other side who now joins the party.

Let’s lighten the tone with a bit of Bucks Fizz. Remember them pop pickers?

“Don’t let your indecision take you from behind, trust your inner vision, don’t let others change your mind”

Kieran Tierney has the right to choose. He should be left to do just that without the pressure.

Niall J

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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