Mikel Arteta previews North London Derby against Tottenham
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Arsenal executives recently met with Bologna transfer chief Riccardo Bigon in London to discuss their interest in Aaron Hickey – but the Gunners are also sweet on two other Bologna stars. Mattias Svanberg and Jerdy Schouten were also discussed in the meeting, with Arsenal’s Premier League rivals, Brentford, also meeting with Bigon over the trio.
Various reports have linked the Gunners with a move for Hickey, who has had a stunning season in Serie A. The 19-year-old left-back is valued at around €20millon (£17m) by the Italian outfit, with Hickey seen as a potential replacement for Nuno Tavares.
According to a new report from Corriere dello Sport, Svanberg and Schouten were also discussed in the meeting with Bigon. Svanberg, a Swedish midfielder, will have just one year remaining on his deal in the summer and has caught Arsenal’s eye. While Hickey and Svanberg were the main subject of the meeting, Schouten, another midfielder who has been identified as a ‘potential replacement for Declan Rice’ by West Ham, was also discussed.
However, the Gunners could be set to face top-flight competition for the trio if they do decide to firm up their interest. Brentford have also opened a dialogue with Bigon over their in-demand stars as they begin to plan for another Premier League campaign.
While it remains to be seen if the Italian side would be open to selling all three players, Bigon’s trip to the capital was seen as an opportunity to ‘test the waters’ regarding any summer transfer business.
Arsenal signed Tavares in a £7m deal last summer to boost their options at left-back, but the Portuguese defender has been a disappointment and produced a string of erratic displays.
And with Kieran Tierney enduring an injury-hit campaign, the report claims that Arsenal are prepared to replace Tavares and bring in Hickey as Tierney’s understudy.
Tavares has racked up 25 appearances for the Londoners this term but has been woefully exposed defensively. The 22-year-old was benched for last weekend’s crunch clash against Leeds with Takehiro Tomiyasu, a right-back by trade, preferred ahead of Tavares.
Hickey – who moved to Italy from Hearts back in 2020 – has won full international honours with Scotland after his stunning season with Bologna, where he’s netted five times in 34 appearances this year.
And the exciting teenager has already opened the door for a move abroad this summer. He told Sky Sports last week: “I might want to challenge myself somewhere else and have a different experience, but who knows the future. I do see a lot of talk. It’s nice to know there’s interest from other clubs, it gives you some confidence. But you just keep your head down and focus on football.”
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