If you ever doubted just how grounded Kieran Tierney is you only have to run though the timeline of the hours leading up to his £25million switch from Celtic to Arsenal on the transfer deadline day.
Full-back Tierney, who is still only 22, moved to the Emirates Stadium from Parkhead with just hours remaining of the window after a summer full of speculation that the transfer was imminent.
Tierney was just one of four new faces brought in by boss Unai Emery with Nicolas Pepe joining from Lille for £72million, David Luiz arriving from London rivals Chelsea for around £7million and Dani Ceballos making a season-long loan switch from Real Madrid. Livewire attacker Gabriel Martinelli also moved to the Gunners from Ituano in his native Brazil. William Saliba has also been snapped up but immediately loaned back to Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne. Alex Iwobi joined Everton for £40million, while Carl Jenkinson swapped to Championship side Nottingham Forest for £2million.
The recruitment drive is testimony to Arsenal’s ambition and makes a complete mockery of the national newspaper reports over the close season that suggested that the club had only a £45million budget to spend on transfers.
Tierney’s arrival couldn’t have been more understated as far as his journey is concerned and the young Scottish defender has told how he was out playing football with his mates in the park when the call came to go to meet Emery to put pen to paper on a deal.
“I got told at seven o’clock that I had to be at the airport in an hour, so I had to go quickly. I was actually down the park with my friends training. They play with their local team so I was down watching them and I got a phone call that I needed to go. I got to the airport and the flight was delayed two-and-a-half hours, with another hour’s drive for a hotel and I probably got zero sleep, so I was back up at half five.”
Meanwhile, Samba star Luiz is very much seen as a direct replacement for Laurent Koscielny, who has departed for French outfit Bordeaux in a deal worth around £5million. The Stamford Bridge ace stunned Blues fans by making the switch — but Gunners chief Emery, who worked with him before at Paris Saint-Germain, says he is delighted he decided to move across the capital.
Following Luiz, late, late arrival at the Emirates to push through the deal, Emery said:
“David has huge experience and I look forward to working with him again. He is a well-known player and adds to our defensive strength.”
As for the player himself, speaking to the club’s official website, he said of the switch that knowing Emery played a big part in his decision.
“Yes it was a big, big part. I know him, I know some people from the club. I know Edu, I know Raul, I know the quality of the team, the players, and that’s what makes me excited to dream, to have the ambition to win big things. I think all my life, I’ve always started the season with the goal to win things.
“It’s not going to be different here — I’m going to come with this mentality because this is what made me move here. This is what makes me feel good every single day. I have to run for one reason, for one goal, and my goal is to win things with Arsenal.”