Approach made as Aston Villa aim to win race for ‘the next Gareth Bale’

Aaron Hickey Bologna

Aston Villa have reportedly made an approach as they aim to win the race for Aaron Hickey, who has been labelled ‘a young Gareth Bale’.

Glasgow-born Hickey spent time at Celtic before joining Hearts. He broke into the first team there during the 2019-20 campaign and went on to make 34 appearances, mostly at left-back.

The 19-year-old clearly made a big impression as Serie A outfit Bologna came calling in September 2020. They paid around £1.5million to make Hickey the first British player in their history.

Hickey’s debut season was disrupted by him catching coronavirus and a shoulder injury, limiting him to just 11 league appearances. But he is making more of an impact this time around – specifically four goals in 19 outings thus far.

A recent report from Spanish outlet Marca was full of praise for the starlet. It read: “Scotland have a vast array of left-sided defenders now, and Hickey is set to be the next off the production line.

“He is the second-highest scoring defender in the top five major European leagues, netting four for Bologna in Serie A this term, and his athletic prowess is what makes him so effective.

“Many have compared him to a young Gareth Bale.”

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Steven Gerrard is hoping to take Hickey to Aston Villa, according to Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett (via Football Scotland). The journalist claims Villa have made an initial approach to discover Bologna’s willingness to sell.

Dorsett states Gerrard is looking for a new left-back to challenge existing option Matt Targett. Everton man Lucas Digne is also on his radar.

However, the Villans are not alone in admiring Hickey, who is comfortable operating as a left midfielder too.

Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio are also keeping tabs on the Scotland U21 international. They could rival Gerrard’s side if a bid comes to fruition.

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Meanwhile, Villa could reunite Gerrard with former Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho.

Sport Witness, who cite reports coming out of Spain, claim Villa are negotiating with Barcelona for Coutinho’s transfer.

The West Midlands club want to loan the 29-year-old until the end of the season. They believe he can still have an impact in England, despite his tough spell at Barcelona.

Gerrard is apparently driving the deal, having spoken to Coutinho on the phone to convince him to move.

One Spanish journalist even goes as far as saying the transfer is in the ‘final stages’. They suggest it could become official in the coming days.

Gerrard and Coutinho played together at Anfield between January 2013 and July 2015.

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