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Could Bologna Move for Scottish Youngster Be Positive News for The Impact?

Joey Saputo’s Italian club attempting to prize 18 year-old starlet away from Hearts in the face of interest from the European Champions.

Aaron Hickey (left) in action for Hearts against Rangers last December.
Photo by Bill Murray / SNS Group via Getty Images

BBC Football reports that Montreal Impact sister-club Bologna have made the first official move for 18-year-old Aaron Hickey, a left-back with relegated Hearts in Scotland, who has also aroused interest from European Champions Bayern Munich.

Hickey has visited both Bologna and Bayern Munich over the past month, and while the new European Champions, as well as Celtic, were in contact with Hearts over the summer, the Italian club have been boldest in making the first move.

Aston Villa and Olympique Lyonnais were also linked with the player this summer and according to Hearts’ manager Craig Levein, Celtic have made “five or six attempts” to bring the player back to Parkhead. Should Hickey move elsewhere as seems likely, as part of the deal releasing the payer from Celtic’s Academy system to join Hearts in 2018, the Glasgow giants will receive 30% of any future transfer fee.

In May 2019, the then 17-year-old became the youngest player to start a Scottish Cup Final since 2008 when Hearts lost to his boyhood club Celtic at Hampden Park in front of 50,000 fans. Earlier that season Hickey made his Scottish Premier league debut aged just 16.

The BBC believe Bayern’s intention is to place him in their reserve side, the current champions of Germany’s third tier, while Bologna’s interest is to include Hickey as part of their first-team squad.

If accurate this clearly rules out spending time with Montreal Impact, however should the player opt to move to the Italian club, the potential of a loan spell in Montreal cannot be discounted, especially if Hickey is deemed not quite ready for Bologna’s Serie A line-up straight away.

Hearts’ chair Ann Budge confirmed to BBC Scotland that one formal approach had been made by a European club.

“I’ve made it clear to Aaron and his agent I don’t want him to go but if that is what then future holds for him then so be it. I think he is going to want to go somewhere.”

Budge said Celtic had not contacted Hearts recently about Hickey, but had made “a couple of offers” in previous transfer windows that were rejected.

Hickey was a regular with Heats last season appearing 30 times (all comps) and scoring 1 goal before the pandemic shut football down.