Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth will no doubt have one eye firmly on the summer transfer window, with the Englishman looking to ensure the Magpies are able to build upon what has been a remarkable campaign thus far.
One potential area that the transfer chief will seemingly be looking to address is at left back, with recent reports having suggested that the Tynesiders are interested in a move for Arsenal ace, Kieran Tierney.
What’s the latest on Kieran Tierney to Newcastle?
As Football Insider reported late last week, the St James’ Park outfit are said to be ‘closely monitoring’ the Scotland international ahead of a potential summer move, with the 25-year-old having lost his place to Oleksandr Zinchenko in Mikel Arteta’s side.
The report suggests that the 5 foot 10 brute – who joined the Gunners from Celtic on a £25m deal in 2019 – could be available for a fee of around £30m if he is to depart in the coming months, despite still having just under three years left to run on his current deal.
Could Tierney be Newcastle’s next Joe Willock?
The hope for Eddie Howe’s side will be that Tierney could prove just as influential as that of another man to have arrived from the Emirates in the recent past in Joe Willock, with the Englishman having shone since his initial loan move in January 2021.
The 23-year-old went on to end the 2020/21 campaign with eight goals to his name in just 14 league appearances for the northeast side, with that devastating tally ultimately proving vital in steering the club firmly away from danger.
While the playmaker has been unable to maintain that hot streak since signing on a permanent deal for a fee of around £25m – scoring only four more goals over the past 18 months or so – he still remains a vital part of Howe’s squad, with the former Bournemouth boss notably stating last month:
“I have been really pleased with Joe. I think he is maturing nicely. I think he’s got really good raw ability. He’s very athletic and has an eye for goal, technically he’s very good and tactically he is improving.
“He has been excellent for me. I have forged an excellent relationship with him and I really like him as a person. I think the big thing with Joe is there’s a lot more to come. And I am excited about his future.”
That impact has been showcased by the fact that Willock has averaged 1.6 tackles per game and laid on five big chances in total so far this season from his 22 league appearances, with his all-action box-to-box style also demonstrated by the fact that he ranks in the top 10% among his European peers for progressive carries and in the top 1% for touches in the attacking penalty area.
With it clear to see that Newcastle’s capture of the dynamic midfielder has more than paid off, the aim for Ashworth will be to replicate that previous success by bringing in Tierney sooner rather than later, with the former Hoops man able to mirror his ex-teammate in reviving his career at St James’ Park.
The full-back “machine” – as previously praised by journalist Simon Collings – could well mirror Willock in providing Howe with a real relentless presence from the flanks, showcased by the fact that the Isle of Man native ranks in the top 13% for progressive carries.
The £110k-per-week man also offers real quality on the ball as he ranks in the top 7% for progressive passes as a marker of his forward-thinking approach, with that desire to make things happen also illustrated by the fact that the 35-cap monster ranks in the top 16% for attempted passes.
While Tierney’s time in England has perhaps not quite gone to plan as yet – having made just four league starts this season – he previously flourished during his time north of the border, scoring eight goals and laying on 37 assists in 170 games across all fronts for the Old Firm giants.
With the Arsenal man clearly a real threat in an attacking sense, Ashworth and co should seemingly jump at the chance to strike a deal this summer, particularly after seeing the impact that Willock has made in recent years.