Football pundit Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal went into the market for another left-back because of Kieran Tierney’s fitness issues.
THE LOWDOWN: INJURY WOES
Arsenal signed Kieran Tierney from Scottish champions Celtic back in 2019 and the defender has been excellent since making the switch.
The left-back has endured various injury problems since making his move to the Emirates. This includes a double hernia problem that he underwent surgery on not long after signing for the Gunners. It has denied the fans the opportunity to see the Scottish defender play consistently. Since moving to London, Tierney has missed 48 competitive games for the Gunners.
His injury struggles, coupled with the erratic displays of Nuno Tavares, who arrived as his backup last summer, forced Mikel Arteta to sign Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City this summer.
In the preseason leading up to this campaign, Tierney barely featured, before making a cameo appearance in the opening day 2-0 win at Crystal Palace on Friday. His availability is still questionable and pundit Jamie Carragher believes the Gunners went for another left-back because of his struggles.
THE LATEST: FITNESS QUESTIONED
Jamie Carragher, in his assessment via Sky Sports, has spoken about how a new left-back was essential after the Scottish international has struggled to maintain his fitness so far in his three seasons at the club.
“Arsenal needed to strengthen at left-back because Tierney’s injuries now are becoming a problem for him and for the team”
THE VERDICT: PATIENCE IS NEEDED
The 25-year-old has become a firm favourite at the Emirates, with many Gunners supporters shouting for him to become club captain last season, after the departure of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in January.
When Nuno Tavares was signed last summer from Benfica, many expected him to push for a starting spot but it was far from the case. Hence, the reason why Arsenal sent him out on loan to Marseille this summer.
The arrival of Zinchenko from City is the sort of competition Tierney needs in order to work more on his fitness and fight for his place. Now, it is quality and healthy competition for a starting berth in that left back role as against last season where Cedric Soares and Granit Xhaka had to be deployed there by Mikel Arteta on several occasions.
Arsenal can afford to be patient this season and hopefully, Tierney will sort his fitness issues and become a mainstay in the team again.