Kieran Tierney’s terrific form might just have landed him a £50-million summer switch to Real Madrid.
The full-back netted his first Scotland goal in the 1-1 draw against Poland.
And that landmark has merely strengthened Carlo Ancellotti’s determination to ensure the Spanish giants head off a potential summer auction with a decisive move for the defender.
The Italian first attempted to sign the Scotland star for Napoli from Celtic in 2019, but lost out to Arsenal, who successfully weighed in with a £25m bid.
But his interest has been revived by a glowing report from Real’s chief scout, Juni Calafat.
Ordered to complete a detailed analysis on Bukayo Saka, Calafat had his head turned by Tierney as he watched the Gunners put together a run of wins to close in on a Champions League place.
He highlighted the 24-year-old Scot as a player with the potential to excel at the very top of the European club game.
While Arsenal would be unlikely to block his move to one of the planet’s biggest names – provided the price was right – Real know that bidding too low would risk opening the door to others.
La Liga rivals, Barcelona, are also known to be keen.
Nevin insists KT can play for any club in the world and win the Ballon d’Or
By Ewing Grahame
Pat Nevin has been an admirer of Scotland’s latest goal hero, Kieran Tierney, since he broke into the Celtic first-team in 2015.
Four Premiership titles, two Scottish Cups and a League Cup later, he moved to Arsenal for a Scottish record £25-million fee.
Nevin has watched him take on the best players in England with the same fearlessness as he did north of the border.
He believes that a move to one of the giants of the game is inevitable for Tierney.
“Kieran’s been linked with Real Madrid, and I’m convinced he would have no problem fitting in there,” said the former Chelsea, Everton and Scotland winger.
“He’s good enough to join any club in the world, and hit the ground running.
“Andy Robertson is a fabulous full-back, so I’m not criticising him in any way when I say that Kieran is the better all-round player of the two.
“It’s probably the first time since Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness in the 1980s that we’ve had two Scots capable of playing for the best teams around.”
London is awash with rumours that Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, will offer Tierney the captain’s armband in an attempt to keep him, but Nevin isn’t sure that will do the trick.
“It would suggest that the club realises how important and influential Kieran has become,” he acknowledged.
“He’s the main reason that Arsenal are a top-four team right now.
“However, once you’ve reached the level he’s attained, then money doesn’t come into it. He’ll get at least as much as Arsenal can offer him if he moves somewhere else.
“It will be all about what he can win from now on.
“I think Manchester City would be the perfect club for him. They have a brilliant squad, but are a bit short in two positions – left-back and centre-forward.
“They spent £100m to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, so would easily be able to meet Arsenal’s price.
“If they finally win the Champions League this season, then how do you strengthen the best team in Europe? Signing Kieran would be a good start.
“I tried to get Chelsea to buy him four years ago, but they didn’t listen and ended up signing Ben Chilwell from Leicester City – for twice as much as Kieran would have cost them.
“He just 24 and hasn’t peaked yet, which is quite frightening.
“When I first met him, he was a confident boy. But he’s gone beyond that to have this total and utter belief in himself.
“ You just think: ‘He’s got it’.
“Kieran is already one of the best footballers on the planet He could play anywhere.
“I genuinely believe he can go on to win the Ballon d’Or. Only one defender – Fabio Cannavaro, who captained Italy to the 2006 World Cup – has ever won that prize.
“But it’s not impossible for KT to emulate him.
“For that, three things need to happen. First, he has to be playing for one of the biggest clubs and winning trophies.
“Secondly, he has to avoid being around at the same time as geniuses like Maradona or Lionel Messi or goal machines like Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Finally, he has to offer something different. That’s already happening.”
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