Experienced football scout Nicola Liguori has been doing some work for Turin newspaper Tuttosport, identifying players Juventus should be going for over the next few transfer windows.
With the club looking for fullbacks at the moment, that’s what Liguori’s weekend article was about and the star of the show was Celtic’s Kieran Tierney.
The 20 year old has been linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks, but it seems Tierney is managing to impress in wider Europe too.
Liguori believes Tierney is just the type of player Juventus should be looking at. Already on a good level at Celtic under Brendan Rodgers, the scout thinks there’s plenty more to come from the player.
Tierney is described as a ‘fairly guaranteed bet’ and ‘not yet a big one, but he has the means to become it’.
Liguori, who has clearly done his homework, explained: “I saw him the first time in September 2016 at the Old Firm, the derby between Celtic and Glasgow Rangers. A match of a monstrous intensity: seven bookings, a red card… Within this British battle climate there was a young boy, at the age of 19, who possessed a Latin technique that had nothing to do with all the others. This match gave me a light on Tierney, who I then viewed 6-7 times between the championship, the Champions League and the national team.
“In some ways he recalls the Evra of the early years at Manchester United. Tierney is a pure left-footer, with excellent technique. He pushes and overlaps continuously. When he catches the ball and goes for his opponent he becomes devastating (74.3% successful dribbling, Wyscout data).
“He almost always creates situations of numerical superiority and then finishes with inviting crosses in the area: 29.5% of those managed overall (in the Champions League the percentage is 36.4%, Marcelo of Real Madrid travels at 32.1%). We are talking about a 20 year old who has made 29 assists in the last three seasons: 8 in 2015-16 and 12 in 2016-17. In the current one, despite the problem in the calf that has slowed him in recent weeks, he’s at 9.”
As far as room for improvement, the scout thinks Tierney could work on his heading, and is a fan of the player’s character: “Boy of great temperament, very Scottish.”
Celtic don’t want to lose the fullback to anyone, but when Liguori was asked about the player’s career progression, he said: “For Tierney, the most logical leap in quality would be the landing in a Premier League club. In England it would be easier for a question of language and similar habits.
“But he has everything to explode even in a big Italian club: in this case it would take a little more patience to allow him to adapt to a more tactical football. The ideal route for him would be the one that Alex Sandro did at Juve when he alternated with Evra: first year ‘behind’ an expert player and then a gradual explosion.”
Another one for Celtic to worry about.