Kieran Tierney will probably return to Celtic one day.

There can really be no doubting the affection Parkhead’s former crowd-conductor-in-chief has for the club he grew up supporting and playing for. When he broke into Ronny Deila’s first-team in 2016, he was the embodiment of every Celtic fan’s dream; in the academy from the age of seven, on the terraces when he wasn’t on the pitch, working his way into the first team and winning an invincible treble, there was a fairytale element to Tierney’s story that made him the poster boy for what Celtic is all about.

A poster boy for the academy system, too, as he made the club £25million moving to Arsenal in 2019. The chance to apply yourself in the Premier League while earning several times your current salary is so often a no brainer for players and managers, but so agonising was the choice for Tierney that it kept him awake at night. Leaving Celtic was a not a decision taken on a whim.

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Competing at a higher level was always going to benefit Tierney’s career, and he won an FA Cup during his first season. Back home, we generally only get to see him up close in Scotland colours, but it is abundantly clear this is a player who has improved markedly since leaving Glasgow behind.

But it’s a brutal environment south of the border, and now it appears Tierney has another call to make over what comes next in his career. Mikel Arteta’s preference for deploying Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back has reduced the Scot to a back-up role, and he made only six starts in the second half of last season.

Even among Arsenal fans, the consensus is Tierney is far too good not to be enjoying regular football, and he has been strongly linked with Newcastle United, the Premier League’s new rising force under Eddie Howe and the backing of Saudi Arabian ownership. It feels like a good fit, Howe’s Newcastle are an all-action, tactically astute outfit within which Tierney would likely thrive.

But the possibility of a return to Celtic will never be far away when the left-back comes to a career crossroads.

He stands at this particular one at the same time Brendan Rodgers sweeps back into Glasgow. Rodgers had a transformative effect on Tierney’s career, and reports have begun to swirl the defender is ‘open’ to the prospect of reuniting.

Speaking last year, he gave the sense that it was a scenario never too far from his thoughts.

"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,” he told BT Sport. “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."

Being who he is, there will probably never be a moment when Tierney is not receptive to the idea of returning home to his boyhood club. It’s never going to be something he would ever completely rule out.

But the current circumstances just don’t seem to align for it at this moment in time. Still just 26, returning to the Premiership from the Premier League would be a significant step down in quality at an age where he has plenty of time remaining at the highest level. That’s not a slight on the game up here that we all love and cherish, it’s simply reality.

Would Tierney really give up his place among the elite just now? His diminished role at Arsenal over the past year would surely foster a sense of having something to prove moving forward. The Champions League factor is, well, not a factor at all really in that if he were to join Newcastle, they will be competing alongside Celtic in next season’s group stage.

And, of course, the biggest stumbling block is a financial one. Celtic do not have the budget to buy Tierney outright, and the mooted option has been a loan deal. But even a temporary arrangement would be a highly expensive one.

Tierney will be earning multiple times his old Celtic salary these days, and for him to be affordable to the Premiership champions would take Arsenal agreeing to keep covering a significant chunk of his wages. The obvious issue there is that the Gunners would be gaining nothing from that arrangement, not least when there will be Premier League clubs interested in a full sale. Arsenal are about to fork over £100m for Declan Rice, so making money back on players no longer integral to Arteta’s plans is likely to come to the fore of their summer agenda sooner rather than later.

From a Celtic perspective, expensive loans don’t really fit with how they have conducted business in recent seasons, either. As outlined by Rodgers during last week’s unveiling, recruitment led by Mark Lawwell has been highly successful in mining previously untapped markets in a way that has maximised Celtic’s strengths.

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Of course, there will always be instances where the club could consider making an exception, but going all-in to get Tierney on-loan for a year would be a hard break from what has become increasingly established way of working. Even if Celtic were to make a generous contribution to Tierney’s pay packet, it would surely still risk upsetting their wage structure. He has never come across as a man motivated by fame and fortune, but it would take a huge reduction in his earnings to facilitate a comeback.

With Greg Taylor excelling over the past two years, left-back is not an immediate priority for Rodgers. The Celtic manager is expected to have plenty to spend over the coming months, but funds are not unlimited. He has quickly made moves in midfield and attack, signing off on a deal for Odin Thiago Holm and closing in on Melbourne City’s Marco Tilio. A new goalkeeper and another centre-back are likely to be high on Rodgers’ shopping list, and chances are he will be seeking to replace someone, in some position as interest remains in a number of Celtic’s top players.

All of the above is the logical stuff, and I think we all know by now the world of football is often not a logical one. If Tierney were to inform Celtic he wanted come back up the road, then who knows what might transpire to make that happen.

Chances are he will one day, but it might just be too soon this time.