NEIL Lennon insisted Arsenal would be getting a bargain if as expected they meet Celtic’s £25million valuation for Kieran Tierney.

The London club will make a third bid this week for the 22-year-old after, as was confirmed by Celtic’s manager yesterday, a second £20m-plus offer was received and immediately rejected at the weekend.

Lennon referenced Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s move from Crystal Palace to Manchester United for an astonishing fee of £50m as an example as to why Tierney’s fee would if anything be lower than it should.

This transfer made the 21-year-old the sixth most expensive defender of all time despite the right-back having not won a full England cap, nor played in Europe and with only one full season as a first-team player.

Arsenal still believe Tierney will be theirs before the English transfer window shuts on August 8 and tellingly, Lennon was adamant that the Scotland international’s recent injury problems would have no affect on any potential move.


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The Celtic manager said: “It's huge money but Kieran is a huge player. It's important that we have a valuation of the player and if it's not met then it's not met. You know, we don't have to sell.

"This is what we're saying - we don't want to sell. But sometimes players leave and even big players. Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United and they're the biggest club in the world.

"Sometimes these things happen. From a business point of view, it may be substantial for the club but from a footballing point of view long-term it may be detrimental to us.

"Look, we've had some great players here and there's no question Kieran could play in the Premier League. We've had Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama, Fraser Forster, Gary Hooper, Moussa Dembele - all these players - and Kieran is as good and in that bracket.

“He has a price and a valuation and the way the market is in England it could even look like a bargain when you think of Wan-Bissaka going for £50m.

“Listen, we can't think about what clubs do in England because we can only affect our own criteria. But the bar has been set by the club and they're pretty adamant they're not moving on it. For nobody."

Lennon revealed that as of yesterday afternoon, as we spoke ahead of tonight’s Champions League second-leg qualifier with Sarajevo, that Celtic’s last contact with Arsenal was not knock back a bid for the second time.


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He said: “‘We are at the 20-plus (stage) and it has been rejected out of hand. It’s up to Arsenal or anyone else to reach or valuation of Kieran.

“It’s not a problem for me. The other thing is he is not fit. He is away doing his rehab with the physios. Would this be a factor? I wouldn’t have thought so, no. He would pass a medical.

“It is one of these sorts of ongoing conditions that causes discomfort and he was in a lot of discomfort towards the end of last season, to the point where he was struggling to get out of bed.

“It’s a question of trying to let that settle. He is back out on the grass now, which is a good sign.

I’d like to think in the next two or three weeks he will be maybe not playing, but back into full training anyway.”

Another off-field issue Lennon has had to deal with is Olivier Ntcham. The unsettled French midfielder was quoted in a French newspaper about his desire to leave Celtic during this window because he had outgrown Scottish football.

Manager and player had a heart-to-heart talk yesterday, Ntcham was given more time off as he had played with the French Under-21 side, and for the moment the matter has been solved.

Lennon said: “Whether you want to call it clear the air talks, I spoke to Olivier on Monday so that’s all resolved. He was disappointed with the way his comments came across in the French media and said the journalist phoned him to apologise.


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“He gave me his side of it and we gave him our side of it. The slate is wiped clean. I don’t want to go into detail but I made my feelings pretty clear when I responded to it last week.

“I don’t like that sort of mindset towards the club. We’re not a stepping-stone for anyone, we’re here to win things and be successful and progress players if that’s what they want - or keep good players for as long as possible.

“We’re a big club and you’ve seen over the years top quality players have progressed here in the Scottish environment. He has looked at that and he will look to start getting better again.”

Ntcham is a talent but he needs to do more to show his manager that he should be a regular starter at Celtic, which he wasn’t for the second part of last season.

Lennon said: “He was out training on Tuesday, and he isn’t one who is short as he had the Euro Under-21s, so he’s only had a two-and-a-half, three-week break.

“It’s a big year for him as he missed out on a bit of football in the second half of the season so it’s important he comes back to the fold and shows the talent he really is. He’s a very talented player but he needs to be more consistent with it. “