Aston Villa could sign their new Gareth Barry in Bologna starlet Aaron Hickey amid Gregg Evans’ recent transfer update…
The Athletic journalist recently claimed that Steven Gerrard’s side would be looking to bring in a new full-back over the coming transfer windows, and name-checked Hickey as a potential target.
He said: “Ashley Young provides the back-up on either side and Konsa and Hause can play at full-back if needed. The hope is that Kaine Kesler, currently on loan at Swindon Town, can step up in the next 18 months. Villa have very high hopes for him, but he might still need another loan, perhaps in the Championship, before he’s ready for the Premier League.
“With that in mind, I expect to see a new arrival at full-back in one of the next two windows. Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey is a player Villa like. Gomez can play right-back too…”
The man who gave him his first-team debut, Craig Levein, pointed out: “He’s got really good defensive qualities but I don’t know if he’ll end up being a full-back, he might end up going back into midfield. He could be a fantastic holding midfielder with his great awareness of danger and his ability to get out of tight situations with the ball at his feet.”
And after he made his debut for Bologna, manager Sinisa Mihajlovic, said: “He doesn’t speak Italian yet and he has to improve a few things but he’s a lad with quality and personality who did well today. Right up to the end I wasn’t sure whether to play him, because I had other players who have already started in that role, but I like to take risks.”
Levein’s comments that Hickey could take his game at full-back into something more central could be the making of him, and help Villa unearth someone as tactically astute and calm in possession like Gareth Barry was.
With a passing accuracy of 86.6% in Serie A (the third-best of any Bologna player to have started more than ten games this season), and averaging 1.1 tackles per game, he certainly has the ball-playing skills and reading of the game to thrive in central midfield in the future.
And, given his age, Gerrard would surely love to work with someone as talented and as full of potential as Hickey is at Villa Park.