It is no more a secret that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is fond of Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney. Mourinho reportedly sent a scout to watch Tierney play in Celtic’s 4-0 victory over Rangers in April and are reportedly eyeing a £20m move. While Tierney then claimed that he is happy at Celtic, should United reignite their interest in the Scottish defender this summer?
The Red Devils finished a staggering 19 points behind champions Manchester City and that itself tells the gulf between the two clubs. Mourinho knows the very fact and has already signed full-back Diogo Dalot from FC Porto as well as Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred.
Predominantly a right-back, Dalot is also equally comfortable playing on the left and will compete with the likes of Ashley Young and Luke Shaw. Young did extremely well in a makeshift left-back role last season but he will turn 33 next month and cannot be relied upon for an entire campaign.
Shaw was expected to be United’s solution at left-back for at least a decade when they signed him from Southampton in 2014. However, the Englishman has struggled to get back to his best after suffering a double leg-break, while Mourinho’s constant barbs have not helped his case either.
So signing Dalot alone isn’t the solution to the left-back conundrum at United. Although Dolot can play at left-back, he is deemed as a long-term replacement for Antonio Valencia at right-back. United need much more than the Portuguese defender with Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian set to depart in the summer. That’s why signing Celtic’s Tierney would make sense.
Tierney, 21, is still developing his game but he’s already an impressive talent. His versatility should appeal to Mourinho as the youngster can also provide cover at centre-back or right-back. He has gone from strength to strength last season as Celtic completed their “double treble” under manager Brendan Rodgers.
Tierney’s ability to contribute in the final third has also been evident, as he scored three goals and provided seven assists in 32 league games last term. A boyhood Celtic fan, Tierney loves the club and has already worn the captain’s armband on a few occasions.
Speaking about Tierney’s style of play, he is an epitome of a modern full-back—fast, energetic, industrious and always ready to contribute in attacks by making overlapping runs. His crosses could provide Romelu Lukaku with the service he needs to thrive. The Scotland international is strong, reliable and fantastic defensively, while he can also pop up with the odd goal.
There is no guarantee that Tierney would be a success at Old Trafford, but he appears to have all the traits and qualities that Mourinho demands from his players—humble, hard-working, devoted and determined.
United represent a big step up from Celtic and it is likely that Tierney would need some time to adapt to his new surroundings, but the 21-year-old has the potential to shine in the Premier League.