Saka or Tierney – first choice left back? | Wenger’s big idea blocked

The progress of Bukayo Saka has been exceptional this season – to the extent it is affecting the long-term future of Kieran Tierney.

Does Mikel Arteta convince Bukayo to sign a five-year contract as a left back – and risk losing him to another club willing to play him in his favoured left- wing position? Or sign him primarily on the left wing – a position primarily and currently occupied by Aubameyang or Martinelli?.

Noises have been coming out of the Scotland camp with an important Euro 2020 play-off against Israel in a month’s time. It is important Scotland qualifies as it is one of the 12 host cities. If you can’t get to the live matches – discover the live streams for Euro 2020 here.

Will Tierney be able to get fit in such a short space of time? He has only made 11 appearances in all competitions this season. Which games could he play in? Can he and Bukayo dovetail as wing back, left back successfully? Could it be that Saka is picked for Euro 2020? It is hard to see a better English left back, on current form.

Talking of Euro 2020 – it looked like it would be Arsene Wenger’s time – given his proposal that the current offside rules be changed.

“Wenger said: “The most difficult [issue] that people have [with VAR] is the offside rule. You have had offsides by a fraction of a centimetre, literally by a nose. It is the time to do this quickly. There is room to change the rule and not say that a part of a player’s nose is offside, so you are offside because you can score with that. Instead, you will be not offside if any part of the body that can score a goal is in line with the last defender, even if other parts of the attacker’s body are in front.
“That will sort it out and you will no longer have decisions about millimetres and a fraction of the attacker being in front of the defensive line.”

He hoped the proposal would be adopted at the AGM of the International Football Association Board on February 29, which meant it could have been in use at Euro 2020. But Lukas Brud, the head of Ifab, said Wenger’s idea will not be discussed at the AGM and therefore cannot be put into practice at the Euros.

“It is not up for approval to come into the Laws of the Game. We have a very strict procedure that any proposal has to be submitted usually on or before November 1 of the previous year in order for us to be able to discuss a proposal in detail with the relevant bodies.

“The board of directors then takes a decision on which proposals go forward to the AGM for approval.

“The meeting is also to discuss football and some ideas, and the AGM could say this might be something it wants to discuss further – or give it to the panels to get their point of view and maybe do some trialling.

“But it won’t be used at the Euros. Nothing can be used without being in the Laws of the Game, and it definitely will not be in the Laws of the Game next season.”