Arsenal have confirmed that Kieran Tierney will spend the season on loan at La Liga outfit Real Sociedad.
The Scotland international moves to Spain for a shot at more regular football with Mikel Arteta comfortable that he has enough bodies in his squad to cover for Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back.
The Gunners completed the £25 million signing of Tierney from Celtic on transfer deadline day in the summer of 2019 and he was quick to impress under Unai Emery after overcoming a groin issue. While injuries continued to pockmark his time at Emirates Stadium, Mikel Arteta clearly admired the player’s professionalism and even deployed him as an auxiliary centre-back as he teased new formations.
The arrival of Oleksandr Zinchenko, and a reinterpretation of how Arteta viewed the left-back slot, was the first sign that Tierney, who had been earmarked as a potential club captain, was no longer first choice in his first position.
While the Scot made 36 appearances last season, his total minutes compared to the season before dropped by nearly 700. Most of his starts came in the Europa League and domestic cups and when asked to invert like Zinchenko, he looked less than comfortable.
Rumours of a potential exit first arose in January when Newcastle United were said to be interested and former club Celtic also flirted with an audacious reunion. Ultimately, the players wages proved problematic.
Under contract until 2026, Arsenal decided they could afford to let Tierney leave on loan for the year but they’ll be hoping his performances for Sociedad put him back in the shop window next year.