Arsenal may be able to better utilise Kieran Tierney next season despite the Scot being linked with a transfer to Newcastle or Celtic. The £40million addition of Jurrien Timber from Ajax might suggest that Mikel Arteta plans to use Tierney more often. 

Arteta has bolstered his defensive options with the signing of Timber, who will provide strong competition for the likes of Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and William Saliba. The Dutchman can play as a right-back or as a right-sided central defender. 

It has been widely claimed that Timber could play in an inverted right-back role. It would be similar to the position played by Manchester City ace John Stones in the second half of last season, and akin to the role of his new Gunners team-mate Oleksandr Zinchenko. 

Zinchenko would often drift infield when Arsenal were in possession to provide his team with better control of the game and to create an overload in midfield. White would step inside from right-back to create a back three, making Arsenal less susceptible to a counter-attack. 

However, Timber and Zinchenko are unlikely to perform the same role in the same team. Having both full-backs move into midfield could see the middle of the pitch become overcrowded. 

That is why Scotland star Tierney could be important next season, especially if Arteta plans to use Timber as an inverted right-back. The 26-year-old is a more orthodox full-back who is also capable of playing at centre-back, meaning he would be able to slide across to create a back-three when his opposite full-back moves into midfield. 

However, Tierney has been linked with a departure from the Emirates Stadium having seen his place taken by Zinchenko last season. Injuries and a loss of form meant the former Celtic man made just six Premier League starts in 2022-23. 

A return to his old club has not been ruled out, while Newcastle are also said to be interested. In October 2022, Tierney spoke about the possibility of playing for Celtic again.