Did Arsenal make a mistake by sending Tierney out on loan?

Kieran Tierney made a strong impression at Arsenal when he initially joined the club, with his performances earning him recognition as one of the team’s standout players. His absence from the lineup was notably felt, as Arsenal often struggled in his absence.

However, during the last campaign, Mikel Arteta introduced Oleksandr Zinchenko to the squad, and the Ukrainian proved to be a suitable fit for Arteta’s system. This led to a shift in Tierney’s playing time, as he found himself less frequently included in the starting lineup.

In the summer transfer window, Tierney departed Arsenal on loan to Real Sociedad. While this move was made, former Premier League player Frank McAvennie believes it was a mistake to let Tierney go.

He tells Football Insider:

“I think it was a mistake for them to let Tierney go.

“I do not know why he could not get into the side but It is great for Tierney.

“He is just a boy from Glasgow wanting to play football and is away to Spain which is brilliant for him. I am delighted for him because he is a top, top player. How he can’t get into the Arsenal team is bizarre. “

Just Arsenal Opinion

We cannot doubt that Tierney is a terrific player because of what he delivered on the pitch for us when he first joined the club.

However, we have much better players now and he does not seem to fit our system going forward.

Hopefully, he will earn a permanent move away and restart his career at another club.

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Tags Frank McAvennie Kieran Tierney


  1. Please name the “much better players” who are available to MA at the moment, with the emphasis on “much”.

    1. For Ken
      There is one player who in my view is better (certainly not much better) and it is Timber but he is injured. So the decision to loan him out is even more bizarre knowing we have an injury. In a recent report Gabriel seems to have picked up an injury on international duty.

      1. That’s why I stipulated “who’s available” IGL… but I’m not convinced that he is just yet. Let’s see what the injury has done to him, remembering how it affected Hector Bellerin.

        1. You have a point about the severity of the injury, which would be a pity because I thought he was the best of the 3 purchases we made this year.

  2. Tierneys’ exclusion from the team is a baffling one. Anyone would think he has a bad attitude, the way he has been blanked. It’s a mystery to me and always will be because he never gave anything but his best.

  3. As long as Arteta doesn’t like a player, he will try all means to move that player away from his side.

  4. Arteta preferred other players – whether he’s right or wrong in that, the team has been much improved over the last year, largely without Tierney. It *may* be a mistake on Ma’s part, but it doesn’t appear to be a costly one.
    I don’t think it’s remotely personal – can’t imagine MA doesn’t appreciate tierney’s excellent attitude. I also don’t believe he sees Tierney as a bad player, most likely he just doesn’t see KT as a good fit for the style of football we’re trying to play.
    Whatever the truth of it, I’m glad Tierney has moved so he can play more regularly. Who knows, maybe he’ll do enough to convince arteta he was wrong – if I were in arteta’s shoes, I’d love nothing more than to be proven wrong be a decent, humble person like KT.

  5. I think Arsenal wanted to make some good cash from an outright sale of Tierney either for the purpose of “balancing the books”, or to invest in another player since he was no longer a regular starter and was agitating to leave.
    The loan option was probably forced on the club by lack of good offers for the player.
    This is hoping that Tierney has a good spell on loan so he can leave for a good fee next time round

  6. It wasn’t a mistake, Tierney is a footballer as we all know staying sharp in your trade is to be constantly playing. At Arsenal at the present moment, it’s not possible for him to do so.

  7. Tierney is clearly better at LB than Tomi and Kiwior. Timber is out for most of the season. Zinc has to be rested at some point, even if he doesn’t get injured.

    It’s just poor decision making to let Tierney go and use Tomi and Kiwior as backup to Zinc. Puzzling why Arteta would deliberately choose to have weaker backups at LB than Tierney. Just doesn’t make sense

    1. Weaker as traditional LBs, but we don’t play with traditional LBs. Zinchenko moves into centre midfield when we have the ball, and Tomi and kiwior similarly switch to other positions. I can only think arteta isn’t so convinced about tierney’s ability to switch position compared with the others…

      1. And I’d argue Tomi and kiwior are stronger defensively than Tierney, even at LB – Tierney is faster and a very good attacking fullback, but defensively not as good as those two imo

      2. Tomi and Kiwior are inferior to Zinc and Tierney as LBs. In games that they have played as LBs earlier this season, I did not notice them switching positions. What I notice was them being rather static on the left, like even more traditional LBs in the 80s who just stay put behind and do sideway passing.

        The lack of ability of Tomi and Kiwior to play out from the back down the left, upsets the balance of the team on the left. It also causes a lack of support for the LW, isolating Martinelli and making him more easy to mark and less effective. Overall they make us weaker than Tierney on the left. It would be dreadful when they have to step in again for Zinc

        1. I didn’t think it was quite that bad – I will say though, Tomi and kiwior certainly don’t look better on the ball than Tierney, though (no worse either imo). Both look no more than competent in that role.
          I thought Tierney looked quite decent in preseason, playing that inverted role, so was surprised he didn’t get a chance at the start of the season.
          It may be because Tomi and kiwior are better defensively or something I haven’t noticed to do with that transition period (understanding when to switch positions)?

          1. They certainly looked less competent than Tierney to me, especially when we had the ball. It was a step backwards like old fashioned LBs who are much less involved in playing out from the back. Martinelli being more isolated when either of them play as LB is also one of the reasons why we didn’t have the fluency despite scrapping through results wise

            1. We don’t have many games with Tierney playing there, aside from preseason? I agree we looked less fluid compared to when zinchenko plays, but I’m not sure if Tierney would have made a difference – I thought it should have been tried, though. With you there.
              I’m just not sure what arteta’s reasoning was, but i could see some possibilities, as mentioned before.

              1. Yes we should have given him a game or two before he went off on loan. Based on how he stood in for Zinc last season, he’s the best backup LB we have, without compromising on playing out from the back and providing adequate support for the LW

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