Arsenal are closing in on their first signing of the summer with a deal for Bologna’s Aaron Hickey close.
The full-back headed to Italy from his native Scotland as he sought to further his development and his performances have attracted Premier League attention. Arsenal look to have won the race for his signature and are poised to pay €24m (£20m) for his services, as reports CalcioMercato.
Bologna chiefs recently headed to London to finalise a deal with the Gunners that will see the Italian outfit earn a huge profit on the Scottish teenager. Napoli and AC Milan were keen on the full-back and wanted to keep him in Italy, but he looks to have opted for a return to the British Isles.
Hickey has scored five times for the Serie A side, playing over 30 times, as they sit in midtable. He is also now a Scotland international, teaming up with current Arsenal star Kieran Tierney, who has been a huge success at the Emirates.
The full-back admitted earlier this season that there was still plenty for him to work on despite the mounting interest. “My goal this season was to play more games than last season,” he told the Scottish Daily Record. “I achieved that aim and that’s something I am very happy about. The important thing is to keep my head down and keep improving with a coaching staff that are helping me a lot. Now I think about my future only here in Bologna.
“The way we play helps me a lot compared to what I was used to in Scotland. In terms of my progress, I have to keep improving to gain experience and help the team. But personally, I think I still need to improve both in the attacking and defensive parts of my game.”
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Arsenal raided Bologna back in the summer for Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has proved to be a big hit. The Gunners may also had the added lure of Champions League football should they remain in fourth spot, although that is far from certain with two games remaining.
Mikel Arteta and the club’s hierarchy made a effort to lower the squad’s average age last summer, bringing in the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal. Hickey would fit that trend as the Gunners continue to target younger players.
Arsenal will also have to target a forward as they face the threat of an exodus in that area. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left in January whilst Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette will both see their contracts expire come the summer.