‘Surplus to requirements’ – Arsenal legend claims fans’ favourite could be sold

Kevin Campbell has claimed that Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney could be sold at the end of the season, highlighting the improvement in our side when Oleksandr Zinchenko is selected.

The Gunners have been in top form this term, with or without the Ukrainian defender in the side due to injury absences, but he has been the first-choice ahead of the Scot since joining from Manchester City.

Tierney place in the squad is now in question, with the likes of Nuno Tavares also impressing out on loan also, and Campbell believes that while he has a role to play for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign, this could well be his last season in our side.

“He (Tierney) didn’t influence the game (against Oxford) the way we know he could,” Campbell told The Highbury Squad. “But that’s because of the level Zinchenko is now playing at. You look at when Zinchenko comes on, and then all of a sudden, we click because we dominate the ball. Why? Because he dominates the ball. He’s technically so gifted.

“Kieran Tierney isn’t that type of player. He is your typical left-back. He will get it and he will move up and down. Sometimes he can do that (come into midfield and dictate play), but nowhere near as Zinchenko does because he’s a really good midfielder.”

On KT no longer being suited to how Arsenal play: “I think sometimes it depends on who we play. I think there will be times when Kieran Tierney is preferred at left-back, in some of those Europa League games, Kieran Tierney could be starting. I think, for the league, for the domination we want to have with the ball, then I think Zinchenko is the preferred player.

“He might be surplus to requirements at the end of the season. Let’s see. But I still think he definitely has a part to play from this point until the end of the season.”

It seems a little crazy that Tierney has gone from being ranked amongst our best players and a future club captain, to someone who could well be surplus to requirements in less than a year. I still have a lot of love for the former Celtic man, but it really is evident that he has now become the back-up option. That isn’t to say that he can’t adapt his playing style a little to break back into the manager’s plans, but whether he can overthrow the former City star is another story.

Does anyone believe that Tierney should be playing ahead of Oleks? Could KT’s limited playing time be down to his fitness?


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  1. Strange, I was just thinking the other day that if anyone had sugegsted a year or so ago that the club would be replacing KT, they’d be laughed at.

    But now we seem to have replaced what we all thought was a really good FB with an even better one – possibly even a significantly better one.

    Arteta works in mysterious ways 🙂

  2. The corollary to that is… sometimes dealings in the transfer market are about picking up a good player who’s an upgrade as and when you can get them.

    You can’t always get what you want when you want it, it’s not just about the money.

  3. it is very match dependent. if it is one where we will not dominate possession, i would trust KT much more defensively over zinchenko.
    it means 3 quarters of the season it will be oleks first choice, but the other quarter would be better for KT.
    there is no harm in having 2 quality lbs that offer something different. find it weird everyone goes on bout squad depth, but as soon as one isnt first choice, there is talk about getting rid.

  4. Zinchenko is not a left back but a left sided central midfielder which is where he has always operated for the Ukraine.Defensively he is not equipped to deal with a conventional winger as he lacks pace as was demonstrated against Oxford when he was skinned twice within 10 mins of coming on.When he plays we effectively revert to a back three with Gabriel playing wider left than normal.This system has been successful so far this season and adds another element to controlling the midfield area.Whether it works against the likes of Man City,Liverpool ,Man Utd and Spurs who all play with attacking right wingers remains to be seen.One thing is for sure, if Arteta considers Tierney to be surplus to requirements there will be a number of Clubs will pay more than the £25m he cost and Newcastle will be one of them.Personally I hope Tierney reestablishes his position as our best left back which he is in my opinion.

    1. Grandad,if you look at TAA at Liverpool,he’s not that great at defending but he’s been the first name on the team sheet for a Liverpool team that has been dominant for the past five years. Why then does Klopp prefer him ? It is because he suits their style of play. It could also explain why he’s never picked for England – he does’nt suit Southgate’s system. In a similar manner,Zinchenko’s excellent technical abilities suit Arteta’s system much better than Tierney.You mention that Tierney was skinned twice but you didn’t mention that we gained more control of the game when he came on. I think Gabriel playing out on the left closer to Zinchenko is by design – he and Xhaka take turns to cover for Zinchenko whenever he’s ‘skinned’ or strays into midfield . In this fluid system,Gabriel plays as the left CB of a ‘back three’ since White is usually conservative ,operating as a right CB or RB depending on the phase of play.

      In addition,Tierney’s attacking game is all about crosses.This is a problem because whipping crosses into the box is not the way Arteta wants to play. The fact that Arsenal has delivered the least amount of crosses into the box of all teams in the epl is testament to this.

      In summary,it doesn’t matter if Tierney is the better LB in the traditional sense . To Arteta, I think it matters that Zinchenko is the better midfielder because technically,Arteta’s Arsenal don’t play with a LB ,but a hybrid(Left midfielder/Left wingback) .

  5. If Zinchenko turns out to be first choice left back then why is Tierney surplus to requirements? If nothing else he would be a first class back up. I don’t get it on here sometimes, when we have an article saying we are in for an expensive third right back and now an article about us getting rid of one of our two left backs! No consistency.

    1. Exactly GB.

      Why should the club only have one good player per position? Stupid suggestion from the writer.

      Teams are counted strong because they have stronger backups(I call them alternate) players.

      you can not afford to live dangerous(thin squad) with one injury to a player costing you points. –

  6. Can’t see the value in having this useless conversation about KT at this critical point in the season. KT is a valued member of our team who is going nowhere. Cased closed.

  7. This article is full of contradictions! It says, on the face of it, that Tierney is surplus to requirements but is full of “could be’s” “maybe’s”, “it depends”, etc CAMPBELL seems to want to diss Tierney but can’t properly make up his mind.

    In any case the idea that we might willingly sell this fine and proper full back(not a midfielder played out of position, like Zinchenko) is too daft for serious consideration.

    The more I see of Campbells regular “thoughts” on JA, the more convinced I am that he is a twerp, interested in self promotion. Perhaps he should change his name to Piers Morgan!!

  8. Couldn’t agree more with GB, RFrancis, Jon Fox and Grandad regarding Kieren Tierney.
    Mr. Campbell obviously doesn’t believe that injuries, a loss of form or personal reasons mean we need a solid, proven squad and KT is one of the best LB’s in the PL.

  9. Definitely need to keep him. They’re 2 completely different options and KT is by far the better defender. Arteta generally subs one on for other whoever starts so it’s good competition

  10. I agree with you wholeheartedly ppl b so dumb. For squad depth both players are necessary and they will and should push each other

  11. How about discussing the increasing possibility that when Gabriel Jesus returns he will have to fight to get back to first choice with Nketiah??

  12. KT is arsenal best LB but am really surprised being dropped everytime. I would suggest KT should find better team where he can show his talent. Arteta is joking about him because he’s not the one that signed him that’s why he played Zinchenko and Tomiyasu ahead of him. KT is my favorite LB 💯. I could see him in Aston villa next season where he can show his talent under Emery.

  13. KT may be a better conventional fullback, but we are currently abetter team for the most part with Zinchenko in it.
    That said, different options are always useful, and things change – maybe if we needed cover for xhaka, our best option could be to play zinchenko in midfield with KT at left back? Maybe our current system will be countered more often next season as others sides get used to it, necessitating larger changes, for which KT is better suited?
    I don’t think we should be moving KT on unless he’s fed up and wants a move.

  14. Maybe KT would have flourished with Giroud up front, because his crosses wont do any good to the likes of Jesus, Odegaard, Saka. Thats why MA prefers Oleks who is tidy and very creative going foward.Perhaps was he not overrated or the better player in a bunch of deadwood during Emerys time. Arteta never really was a fan thats why he dropped him for Tavares early last season and never put him in the group of captains despite the media hype……i would believe he is just in the same bracket as Holding who is defensively not bad but technically underwhelming.

  15. I think Kieren will definitely leave. Arteta is disrespecting him now and it’s not just a case of “tactical decisions” – he plays Z as first choice for all the perceived “big” games. The pity is that it’s ultimately Arsenal that will suffer not KT. His pride must be bruised now for sure, but he’ll turn up at an equally big/bigger club and get his career back on track where it needs to be. He’s too good to be anyone’s understudy. Lets hope he leaves with a PL winners medal!

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