Arsenal star Arteta is playing a dangerous game with talks up emotional exit to the club he loves

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta flanked by Emile Smith Rowe, Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney

An Arsenal star one observer thinks will soon angle for a move has left the door ajar to an emotional return to his former club.

Success stories are aplenty in north London at present. Arsenal sit atop the Premier League table and have won four from four in the Europa League.

Mikel Arteta has found a perfect blend to contend for trophies on both fronts. The Spaniard makes several changes to his starting line-up each Thursday, though continues to sprinkle in some of his first-choice stars too.

Indeed, taking last night’s 1-0 victory over PSV Eindhoven for example, first-team regulars Gabriel Magalhaes, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus all started.

Xhaka scored the winner and avoiding the type of wholesale changes many managers make has helped Arsenal to breeze through their group.

The Europa League has also provided a platform for Kieran Tierney to shine after losing his place in the league.

Summer recruit Oleksandr Zinchenko wasted no time displacing the Scotland international. Following Zinchenko’s injury-enforced absence, Arteta somewhat surprisingly turned to right-footer Takehiro Tomiyasu at left-back.

Most things Arteta touches turns to gold at present, and his Tomiyasu decision has followed that trend.

Tomiyasu versatility bad news for Tierney

The Japan international nullified Mohamed Salah in the 3-2 victory over Liverpool two weeks ago. Tomiyasu again got the nod at left-back for the 1-0 win over Leeds Utd last time out, leaving Tierney kicking his heels on the bench once again.

While Arteta’s call clearly paid off, one observer thinks it could be the beginning of the end for Tierney at Arsenal.

Indeed, pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor recently claimed Tierney could soon be angling for a way out. The ex-Aston Villa forward also delivered a stinging reality check when comparing Arsenal to Tierney’s former club Celtic.

Now, speaking on BT Sports’ Currie Club podcast, Tierney has left the door ajar to an emotional return to Celtic.

Tierney is a lifelong Celtic fan and was on the club’s books for 15 years between 2005-19.

He was ultimately sold to Arsenal for a fee in the region of £25m. However, the left-back refused to rule out a surprise return north of the border when opening up on his acrimonious exit.

Tierney was heckled by sections of the Celtic fanbase when it became clear he would leave the club. He wishes his departure had unfolded in a more pleasant way, and hinted he may yet right the wrong by returning in the future.

“You never know in football, you genuinely don’t”

“I think when a player who loves the club leaves there’s always that, ‘what if he comes back’ and you can’t rule anything out,” said Tierney.

“I’m always going to love Celtic, I’m always going to support Celtic so you never know in football, you genuinely don’t.

“There was a stage I thought I would never leave Celtic, you never know what can happen like anything, you need to take it game by game.”

On his exit Tierney said: “It was heartbreaking, it was tough.

“There were nights where you struggle to sleep and you’re thinking about it, not that you regret the decision but the reaction and just how it’s panned out.

“You think you just wish it was in a nicer way or you could say goodbye in a different way. But that’s the way it panned out.

“No, I know (I didn’t say goodbye), and I think that’s why I was quite emotional during the Aberdeen game because I had the feeling Celtic were going to sell and I’d move on.

“It was a tough few months because I was trying to do everything to get back fit and to play in the cup final, but I was nowhere near it.”

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