Mikel Arteta has insisted that Kieran Tierney remains firmly in his plans for the upcoming campaign despite persistent links away from the club.
The Scot started just six times in the Premier League last season, after the arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko pushed him down the pecking order. In the final games of the season, even centre-back Jakub Kiwior was preferred to the left-back in his natural position.
As a result, Tierney has been strongly linked with a move away from north London, and both Newcastle United and Aston Villa have been reported to be interested, with both sides looking to strengthen ahead of a rare season in Europe.
However, reports that he could leave the club have been debunked by Arteta, who has admitted that the defender still has a role to play after featuring in both pre-season outings so far.
“He is obviously in our plans”, the Gunners boss told Football.London. “He came on and did really good in pre-season, and this is what we want. To increase the level of competition in the team and raise the level of each individual.”
Tierney himself has also spoken of his happiness at the club, pointing to the regularity of his game time from the substitutes bench last season.
“No” [He and Arteta haven’t spoken about a transfer]. “It’s not really up to me. I’m happy, I’m working hard every day, getting minutes. I’m just trying to do as well as I can,” the defender told The Athletic. “You can’t play every single game, every single season, every single year. I don’t expect that.”
Arsenal are expected to be busy for the remainder of the summer, with another midfielder and a right-back still on their shopping list. Departures are their focus for now though, with the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Nuno Tavares, Folarin Balogun and Albert Sambi Lokonga all likely to leave the club.
Tierney, however, will seemingly be going nowhere.