Arsenal

Arsenal paying price for summer transfer mistake as Edu eyes Kieran Tierney replacement

Arsenal may be paying the price for letting Kieran Tierney leave on loan in the summer transfer window, leading to questions over the January strategy

Arsenal may be paying the price for a potential mistake made in the summer transfer window when it came to letting Kieran Tierney leave on loan to Real Sociedad. The Scotland international moved from a key player for the Gunners to an outcast as Mikel Arteta tweaked his system last season.

The arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko put more emphasis on an inverted full-back role, where the defender would be required to slot into midfield and add a stable base in possession. That doesn’t quite match the skillset of Tierney, who has predominantly favoured overlapping on the flanks.

The signing of Jurrien Timber in the summer and his eventual place at left-back in pre-season appeared to point towards an exit for Tierney, which duly followed. The 26-year-old may have been missed though, with his loan deal potentially paying the price for Arsenal so far.

While hindsight is obviously a handy thing to have, there was some signs that a possible stay was required for the defender in the summer. The first was that Timber, his possible replacement, suffered his anterior cruciate ligament injury weeks before Tierney left, with the diagnosis confirmed roughly two weeks ahead of the exit.

That could have been enough time to stop the deal from happening and working with the squad at their disposal, but it wasn’t the case. There were always going to be injury doubts over Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu, due to the pair often finding themselves on the sidelines with occasional problems.

On top of that was the knowledge that Tomiyasu was likely to be unavailable over the January and February period, due to the Asian Cup. The argument may be that Jakub Kiwior is available to fill in there, which he has done as of late, though there will be questions over how many appearances he can be relied upon.

Fast forward to the January window and it remains unknown as to whether Arsenal can recall Tierney from his loan in La Liga for the second half of the campaign. Meanwhile, the Mirror reports that a left-back is of interest to the Gunners in the coming weeks to help bolster their options.

It remains to be seen if they will shell out to land another defender, especially given their depth beyond the current injury issues and international tournaments, but it will be the price they pay for letting Tierney leave.

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