Celtic legend Stiliyan Petrov believes Manchester United would not be financially deterred from signing Kieran Tierney.
The 21-year-old Scottish left-back is continually associated with a move south of the border though he’s reiterated his desire to remain at Parkhead.
Rise of Tierney: Five key things to know…
- Born on the Isle of Man he joined Celtic’s youth academy in 2005 aged seven.
- He made his senior debut on April 22, 2015 as an 81st minute substitute against Dundee.
- Tierney has since made 168 appearances for the club registering eight goals and 37 assists.
- So far he’s won three league titles and five domestic cups.
- He’s been named the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18).
Tierney, a graduate of The Bhoys academy, penned his latest contract extension in October 2017 – two years after breaking into Ronny Deila’s first team – which keeps him in Glasgow until 2023.
However, that hasn’t stopped reports of a potential transfer, and he’s been linked with a number of clubs in England as well as across Europe. One club notably interested is Manchester United, who are certain to bolster their squad in the summer as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aims to restore their standing in the English game.
Petrov, who made over 200 league appearances for Celtic between 1999 and 2006, feels it’s inevitable a club like United – with their financial muscle – will come calling and when they do it will test Celtic’s resolve in retaining Tierney’s services.
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“You don’t go under the radar if you are consistently one of the top performers,” he told the Daily Record.
“I don’t know if it will be this summer or next but I do think at some point Celtic’s resolve will be tested. And if a huge offer comes in the reality is you have to take it. It will take big money to get him. I don’t know how much but it will be no problem for a Man Utd or whatever.
“The boy just has to keep doing what he is doing. Getting into the Champions League can be so important for his development. He has the potential to go on and be world class. He could go to a Man Utd or any other top-level club because he’s been brought up having to play under pressure.”
“This club has been my life and I feel without it my existence would be empty indeed” – Willie Maley 🍀 pic.twitter.com/GTxFgJwumN
— Kieran Tierney (@kierantierney1) November 9, 2018
“Like all good players he has not just survived in that environment but has flourished and those who have the temperament to deal with that are the guys who make it to the top,” he added.
“He has shown he can cope at European level. In the Champions League he has been excellent. But it is also about the way he behaves on the pitch. He has shown he is a leader.
“He has captained his country and he has captained Celtic. That is special for being only 21. He will get better all the time. As an ex-Celtic player and a Celtic fan I want him to be here for as long as possible. But that is not how football works.”
It would be an understatement to suggest Tierney is a firm fan favourite at Celtic Park.
Already many are earmarking him as a future club captain, which he’ll no doubt feel honoured about. Right now, the Manx left-back is one of Europe’s most promising footballers and though he grew up as a huge Shunsuke Nakamura fan, it was Roberto Carlos whom he modelled his game on.
“I looked at Roberto Carlos when I was younger so I try to play the same game as he did, which is obviously attacking,” he told the Daily Record back in 2015.
So far across 168 appearances for Celtic he’s bagged eight goals and created a further 37 for his teammates. His performances subsequently earned him three consecutive PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year awards on the bounce – a feat never managed before.