Van Dijk: Tierney has the qualities to make it in the Premier League

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Liverpool defender says former Celtic team-mate has the ability be a success in England amid Arsenal transfer speculation

Virgil van Dijk says that former Celtic team-mate Kieran Tierney has the necessary ability to be a success in the Premier League.  

The Liverpool and Netherlands defender backed Tierney to meet the challenge of a move to England as Arsenal attempt to secure a deal for the left-back.       

“It is not an easy step to make and you have to play well to do it. But Kieran has the qualities," said Van Dijk according to the Daily Record.

Van Dijk’s comments come amid speculation of a possible move for Tierney to Arsenal, who are preparing a third bid for the player after their latest offer was turned down by the Glasgow giants.  

Celtic are sticking firm to their £25 million ($31m) valuation of the left-back and want the majority of that money guaranteed up front, something Arsenal have been reluctant to agree to.

The last offer did total up to £25m, but contained numerous bonuses and add-ons and was rejected out of hand by the Scottish champions.

Van Dijk remembers being impressed by the young Scotland international when Tierney made his first appearance for Celtic.  

“Kieran made his debut against Dundee when I was at Celtic. I scored a free-kick up there and then he came on and helped us get the win,” said Van Dijk.  

The Netherlands centre-back was speaking in Scotland after Liverpool lost 3-0 to Napoli in a friendly at Murrayfield. Van Dijk played for Celtic between 2013 and 2015 before moving to Southampton and it was during this time that Tierney made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in April 2015.  

Tierney has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the Bhoys and 11 appearances for Scotland, winning both the Scottish Writers’ and Players’ Young Player of the Year awards three years in a row.  

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Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson also rated the abilities of his Scotland international team-mate.  

"I've played with Kieran Tierney for Scotland and he's played right-back and centre-back. I've watched him and he's a very good footballer,” said Robertson.  

Meanwhile, Arsenal are close to completing a club record £72m ($87m) signing of Ivory Coast winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille. The 24-year-old will have a medical on Tuesday and is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Gunners.