Well that sucks. Arsenal’s £25m summer signing Kieran Tierney dislocated his shoulder against West Ham United, is set to have surgery next week, and will be out for up to three months. Tierney, 22, who missed the start of the season recovering from surgery to repair a double hernia, was starting his third Premier League match for the Gunners and had managed only 11 total appearances for the club since his move from Celtic.
Despite the limited number of appearances, Tierney looked worth every penny of the price Arsenal paid to acquire him. His attacking skills have lived up to the billing — his passing has been precise and his service into the area has been dangerous. His defensive qualities have been similarly impressive. He’s a strong tackler, doesn’t make many positional errors, and has the speed to recover from mistakes.
The injury leaves Sead Kolašinac as the club’s only healthy first-team left back. Kolašinac was dealing with a minor injury of his own but was pressed into service against West Ham — first to replace Héctor Bellerín in the matchday squad and then to replace Tierney on the pitch. To his credit, he played well against the Hammers, especially for somebody who started the day not expecting to be involved. Barring any new developments, he should be fit for Sunday’s match against Manchester City.
Who backs up Kolašinac? Your guess is probably as good as mine. U23 centerback Zech Medley replaced an injured Kolašinac at left back in an FA Cup match in January, was in the matchday squad for last week’s Europa League match at Standard Liege, and seems the likeliest candidate. Should Kolašinac go down, Freddie Ljungberg could also go to three at the back, but that leaves a question mark at left wing. Bukayo Saka has some experience as a left midfielder and could fill-in in a pinch. Perhaps one of Matteo Guendouzi or Lucas Torreira sees some time out there, but that’s pure speculation on my part. I should also mention Tolaji Bola as a name that might start cropping up on the team sheet — he’s the starting left back for the U23’s but with no senior appearances and only one senior call-up, I doubt he sees the pitch unless things go even further south.
With Tierney out until at least March, Arsenal will probably need to bring in cover in the upcoming transfer window. Noted January-window-disliker Raul Sanllehi acknowledged last year that injury emergencies were one of the few exceptions to his general rule against mid-season acquisitions. I think the current situation qualifies.