Arsenal may have missed out on a major opportunity in this summer’s transfer market after failing to act on their initial interest in Scotland full-back Aaron Hickey. The 20-year-old has shown Mikel Arteta what he has missed out on over the international break with the impressive performances for his national team, dominating the Gunners’ current top target Mykhaylo Mudryk in last night’s match against Ukraine.
Hickey started his career in the Scottish Premiership with Hearts and quickly shot to prominence as a 16-year-old with a standout performance in the 2019 Scottish Cup final against Celtic. He became a regular in the Jambos’ first team the following season and earned a £1.5million move to Bologna in the summer of 2020, instantly becoming a regular in the Serie A.
After making 48 appearances for the Italian club in the space of two years, it quickly became apparent that the defender would move on to a bigger challenge. He was believed to be a target for a host of clubs in the Premier League, with Arsenal among the club’s most heavily rumoured. However, it was Brentford who took advantage, agreeing a deal believed to be worth around £15m to bring him to the Gtech Community Stadium.
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He has impressed during his time with the Bees despite playing in the less familiar position of right-back, having more regularly played on the left for Hearts and Bologna. However, this has not phased him and he has made the position his own for Brentford helping the club into the top half of the Premier League.
His form during the current international break has been excellent and he has really started to show the likes of Arteta what he can do. His performances in the two matches against Ukraine were particularly impressive, leaving highly rated Arsenal target Mudryk with little opportunity to make an impression on either match.
His contribution last night was again vital as Scotland claimed the top spot in their Nations League group with a 0-0 draw in Krakow. He had been in direct opposition with the Shakhtar Donetsk winger, who will still be seeing visions of the Scotsman in his sleep. He was completely unable to make any difference in the match and was hooked in the 75th minute.
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With Arteta not having an out and out right back of his own Hickey can constitute as a bug opportunity missed. Ben White has performed admirably since being moved into the position during the summer after the arrival of William Saliba – but he longs for a return to the centre. At 20 years old the Scot would have been an option for the short and long-term as the Spaniard looks to build a team capable of challenging at the top of the Premier League in the future.
It remains to be seen what will happen in the rest of Hickey’s career but he looks destined to make another move upwards in the not-to-distant future with some of Europe’s biggest teams likely to take note of his performances. While Arteta may be ruing not making more of his interest, Brentford fans will be delighted as they can enjoy the full-backs performances in red and white this season, with Thomas Frank turning the club into an increasingly impressive Premier League outfit.
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