Aston Villa set to miss out on Aaron Hickey who is in action in the photo
Aaron Hickey of Hearts holds off Karamoko Dembele of Celtic during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Hearts at Celtic Park on May 19, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

According to a recent report by Corriere dello Sport, Aston Villa are set to miss out on Hearts full-back Aaron Hickey this summer. The same source has also mentioned that Bologna is one step closer to sealing a move for the Scottish defender, thus extinguishing the Villans’ hopes of landing him this summer.

Hickey’s Rapid Emergence In Scottish Football

The Glasgow-born starlet enjoyed an impressive campaign at the Tynecastle Park after putting in several solid performances on the left side of the defence. He made 30 appearances for the Scottish Premiership outfit last season, finding the back of the net once while securing one assist across multiple competitions. However, Hickey needs to be more productive in the decisive end of the field if he wants to break into the world-class bracket someday.

The 18-year-old has shown a few glimpses of what he is capable of on the field for Hearts. At such a young age, he managed to establish himself as a regular feature in the Scottish top-flight. However, there are some question marks over whether he can cope with the physical nature and high intensity of Premier League football. Hence, it makes sense for him to move to Italy, where he might have a better chance to impress and earn regular game time in the coming seasons.

Hickey has played for Scotland at various youth ranks but is still waiting to make his first senior appearance for his country. Maybe a change of scenery this summer could help him take his game to the next level so that he can make a positive impact for both his club and country in the years to come.

Aston Villa set to miss out on Aaron Hickey who is seen in the picture
Aaron Hickey of Heart of Midlothian is seen prior to the Betfred League Cup semi-final between Rangers and Heart of Midlothian at Hampden Park on November 03, 2019, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

What Does The Scottish Whizkid Offer On The Field?

Hickey was mainly utilised as a left-back last season but is versatile enough to fill in as a right-back or play as a centre-half if required. He can make some darting runs with the ball out on the wide areas using his pace to get to the by-line. The Scottish defensive ace can even whip in a few promising crosses into the opposition penalty box, which makes him a threat in the opposition half. He can read the danger quickly and can pull off some important interceptions and last-ditch clearances at the back.

What Should Be Dean Smith’s Play Here?

It seems like Bologna are closing in on the Scottish full-back, so Aston Villa boss Dean Smith will have no choice but to pursue some of his other targets this summer. The Villans are in dire need to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season. Hickey would have been a shrewd addition at Villa Park as he would have undeniably helped them steer clear of the relegation zone next season.

Smith will now have a tough job of finding a suitable alternative to Hickey, which will be easier said than done based on his remarkable rise in Scottish football. Both Matt Targett and Neil Taylor struggled to find consistency with their performances last season. Hence, Smith should consider recruiting a new left-back so that he can keep them on their toes for a regular first-team place at the West Midlands in the upcoming campaign.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.