Aston Villa face a battle to convince a left-back target to join them after their interest in his signature became clear, according to a report.
Villa currently have Matt Targett as their first-choice left-back, while Ashley Young is able to cover there too (although he has been used in a variety of roles so far). They could be looking for another option in the long term, though.
According to The Sun on Sunday, Villa have an “increasing interest” in Bologna full-back Aaron Hickey, who is thriving after moving to Italy from Scotland.
The former Hearts defender has started all of Bologna’s first seven Serie A matches this season. He looks on course to shatter his tally from last season, when he made 10 starts and one substitute appearance.
With two goals in his last three games, the teenager’s presence in the team is on merit. And as a result, clubs back in the UK are keeping an eye on his progress.
The Sun report that Villa are admirers of Hickey, who could also become a target for Celtic, where he previously spent four years in the academy ranks.
Hickey has other unnamed admirers in the Premier League, but Villa seem to be at the forefront, while Celtic could take him back north of the border.
However, it will not be easy to tempt him into a transfer. According to the report, Hickey is happy at Bologna, where he is under contract until 2024.
He has only been in Italy for just over a year and seems eager to continue that adventure. But the prospect of a return to the British Isles – either in the Premier League or back in his country of birth – will follow him around while he continues to impress.
Hickey has spoken in the past of being flattered by Celtic’s potential interest. However, he also stressed he is fully focusing on Bologna. It seems his loyalties will lie there for a while longer.
Therefore, it seems Villa and Celtic will both have to make do with their current options for the time being.
If they are able to convince him to join in the future, though, he would be a good investment for the long-term.
Villa urged to spend big on striker
It was a busy summer for Villa in the transfer market. They reinvested wisely after selling Jack Grealish.
But their early form has been mixed, despite many predicting them to give more established top sides a run for their money this year.
With that in mind, they could be active in the transfer window again when it re-opens in January.
One of their former players thinks he knows exactly who they should be targeting. And it’s someone at the opposite end of the pitch to Hickey…