Celtic have been dealt a blow in their bid to bring Aaron Hickey to Parkhead in the January transfer window.
What’s the talk?
That’s according to a report by Italian publication Tuttosport (via The Scotsman), who claim that Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa are now leading the race to sign the Bologna left-back, ahead of the likes of Celtic and Manchester City, who have also been credited with an interest in the 19-year-old this winter.
It was previously believed that that the Serie A side would demand a figure in the region of £8m in order to consider parting with the defender, although further reports have suggested that Bologna officials are set to hold a meeting to determine whether or not they should look to cash in on the Scotland U21 international next month.
Postecoglou must move
Considering the sheer amount of potential Hickey quite clearly possesses, in addition to Ange Postecoglou’s rather desperate need of greater depth at left-back, it would appear highly advisable for the 56-year-old Bhoys boss to do all he can to seal a deal for the left-back this January.
Indeed, over his 19 Serie A appearances so far this season, the £11.7m-rated defender has helped his side keep five clean sheets and has scored four goals, as well as making an average of 0.9 interceptions, 1.1 tackles, 0.8 clearances and winning 62% of his duels per game.
These returns have seen the player, who Daniel Stendel dubbed an “extraordinary talent“, average a highly impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.91, ranking him as Sinisa Mihajlovic’s sixth-best performer in the top flight of Italian football.
And, while Greg Taylor is undoubtedly a decent option on the left-hand side of Postecoglou’s defence, there is not much in the way of depth behind the 24-year-old, with the £15k-per-week Boli Bolingoli – dubbed a “stupid” footballer by Kevin Kyle – being the club’s most senior backup to the Scotland international.
As such, with Bolingoli being linked with a move away from Parkhead this winter, it would seem an extremely wise move for Postecoglou to do everything he can to move the 26-year-old on next month, and subsequently put the money received from his sale, in addition to his heft weekly wage, towards a move for the highly-rated Hickey.