Tierney: Six players Arsenal could target as back up left-backs
Arsenal have successfully trimmed their squad this January with several first-team players departing north London. One of those who has been shown the exit door is Sead Kolasinac leaving Kieran Tierney as the only recognised left-back in Mikel Arteta’s squad.
After shifting the likes of Mesut Ozil and Sokratis Papastathopoulos off the wage bill, the Premier League side can now prioritise incomings at the Emirates Stadium, and a natural back-up to Tierney could be high up on Arteta’s wish list.
“With the departure of Kola, we are a little bit short with left-footed full-backs at the moment,” the Spaniard said at a press conference on Thursday. “We know we can use Ainsley there, we can use Bukayo there and we can use Cedric – who has played in that position – so we have some options. A natural option to Kieran? Obviously, we don’t. But we can adapt.”
Asked if he would consider signing a left-back, the former Manchester City assistant replied: “That means that the option is open and we will look to see what is available.”
So who could Arsenal acquire as Arteta continues to re-build this imbalanced side?
The Atletico Madrid full-back only joined the Spanish giants 18 months ago and, with his contract not expiring until 2025, this would potentially be a very expensive deal. However, the 22-year-old has found game time hard to come by since departing his boyhood side Club Athletico Paranaense in an £18.5m move.
Lodi has made just five La Liga starts in 2020/21 as Yannick Carrasco continues to excel in the wing-back role that Diego Simeone now deploys. The enigmatic Argentine coach is never afraid to cut his losses on a new signing, and the Brazilian youngster could join a long list of stars to spend a short spell of their career with Los Rojiblancos.
Domagoj Bradaric is a 21-year-old defender currently plying his trade with Lille in Ligue 1. The youngster made his international debut for Croatia in 2020 and wasted no time in racking up four caps for his national side.
Since arriving from Hajduk Split in the summer of 2019, Bradaric has established himself as a first-team regular at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy helping his new side to climb to second in the French top-flight standings. Although he still has two-and-a-half years left to run on his contract, Lille are a selling club and would be willing to do a deal at the right price.
Twenty-three-year-old Rogério is a key component to a Sassuolo side who are among Serie A’s most exciting teams to watch. Roberto De Zerbi’s innovative tactics have propelled Neroverdi to eighth in the league table and the Brazilian left-back has played his part in their success this season.
The South American could be a cheaper option for Arteta. Rogério’s contract expires in 18 months and, therefore, Sassuolo may be tempted to offload the defender for a reduced price before his market value plummets in the summer.
The Ivory Coast international is a versatile footballer capable of playing in several positions. In previous years, Cornet has predominantly been deployed on either wing, but in 2020/21, Lyon boss Rudi Garcia has found a new home for the 24-year-old: left-back.
Les Gones are enjoying the current campaign and find themselves entangled in a Ligue 1 title battle. Cornet has contributed one goal and three assists to Lyon’s efforts and, although they would be reluctant to sell a first-team star who has started 17 of their 20 league matches, the departure of Moussa Dembele to Atletico Madrid earlier in the window suggests he would be available.
Getafe’s Mathias Olivera is a Uruguayan defender who loves a tackle as much as he does bombing forward with the ball at his feet. The 23-year-old would be a perfect replacement for Tierney then when the Scotsman picks up an injury or suspension or simply needs a break from first-team action.
Despite the South American failing to register a goal or assist so far this season, Olivera has been a solid performer for the La Liga side, and his price tag would likely fall within Arsenal’s modest budget.
German U-20 international Noah Katterbach has impressed in the Bundesliga in 2020/21, despite being only 19. The teenager made his way up the Koln youth ranks, before making his first-team debut in 2019 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
With just 27 German top-flight appearances to his name, Katterbach would represent somewhat of a gamble to Arteta. Nevertheless, the Arsenal boss may be tempted for that exact reason. He is currently extracting extremely promising performances from youngsters such as Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, and Gunners fans would be excited to see another promising youthful talent join the ongoing revolution in north London.