Tottenham Hotspur have moved ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal in the battle to sign Celtic defender Kieran Tierney, sources have told ESPN FC.
Tierney, 20, has emerged as the hottest property in Scottish football since making his senior debut as a 17-year-old towards the end of the 2014-15 season and his progress under manager Brendan Rodgers saw the youngster rewarded with a new six-year contract, which he signed on Monday.
Despite Tierney’s long-term commitment to the Scottish champions, however, Spurs, United and Arsenal remain determined to be at the front of the queue to sign the left-back next summer.
Isle of Man-born Tierney has insisted that he is in no rush to leave Celtic Park, with the player happy to continue his development under former Liverpool manager Rodgers.
But Tottenham have stepped up their monitoring of the player, with the London club watching Tierney during last month’s Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich in Germany before dispatching chief scout Steve Hitchen to watch him in action in the return fixture at Celtic Park on Tuesday.
With Danny Rose’s long-term future at Spurs increasingly uncertain — United are interested in the England left-back — Mauricio Pochettino is determined to add to his options in defence, with Tierney the leading target.
Tierney, who has made eight senior appearances for Scotland, impressed once again in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat against, with Rodgers singling him out for praise after the game.
“Kieran Tierney was up against Arjen Robben and he was outstanding again,” Rodgers said . “I had Danny Rose as a young player at Watford and I worked with Ryan Bertrand at Chelsea, and Kieran is right up there with those boys.
“He is still very young and those boys are into their latter twenties. He still has bits of improvements to make but his quality, his will, his determination and his focus for a young player is outstanding and he loves playing for Celtic.
“And nights like that, you can see why he wanted to sign here. He is a real special talent, but a boy who is focused in improvement.”
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_