Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Arsenal Leading The Race To Sign 19 Y/O Bologna Defender: How Will He Strengthen Arteta’s Backline?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

Recent reports from Italian media outlet Corriere de Bologna state that Arsenal are keen on signing Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey in the upcoming transfer window as Mikel Arteta looks set to add to his options in defence.

The report further states that Arsenal’s technical director Edu wants to sign the former Hearts defender as a replacement for Nuno Tavares, who has been in a relatively poor form over the past few matches – especially for the blunder he caused at Selhurst Park in April. Besides, first-choice left-back Kieran Tierney has been suffering from injuries lately, so a reliable backup option is the need of the hour.

Aged 19, Hickey’s current market value lies in the region of £20 million. Although there are several clubs in the race to secure his signature, Napoli and Arsenal are believed to be in the lead to sign him.

Bologna (Aaron Hickey)
Aaron Hickey of Bologna FC in action during the Serie A match between Bologna FC and Internazionale at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on April 27, 2022 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images)
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Having come through the ranks at Scottish side Hearts, Aaron Hickey signed for Bologna in September 2020 for a fee in the region of £1.53 million. Over the course of the last three years, the Glasgow-born defender has made 46 appearances for the Serie A outfit, scoring five goals and assisting one across all competitions. Furthermore, he has two caps for Scotland’s senior team.

The 19-year-old has managed to put up some awe-inspiring numbers on the board this term – averaging 1.3 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 0.6 shots, 0.5 key passes, and 0.5 long balls per 90 minutes in the Italian top-flight (calculated across 34 appearances). Capable of playing as a right-back, left-back or even a right or left-sided midfielder, versatility is one of his key assets.

How Will He Strengthen Arteta’s Backline?

As mentioned earlier, The Gunners are desperately looking for a new left-back to replace Nuno Tavares who can simultaneously provide efficient cover for Kieran Tierney in the time of need – and Aaron Hickey fits the bill perfectly. Aged 19, he has a huge future ahead of him irrespective of the club he signs for – an absolute bargain at the £20 million price tag given the quality of performances he has delivered in Scotland and Italy over the last few seasons.

In an interview with Sky Sports, he said “I might want to challenge myself somewhere else and have a different experience, but who knows the future.”

“I do see a lot of talk. It’s nice to know there’s interest from other clubs, it gives you some confidence. But you just keep your head down and focus on football.”

(Stats from WhoScored)

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