West London club close to finalising deal to bring Bologna defender Aaron Hickey to Brentford Community Stadium; Scotland international likely to cost in the region of £14m plus add-ons
Tuesday 5 July 2022 09:27, UK
Brentford are close to finalising a deal to sign Aaron Hickey from Bologna.
A fee in the region of £14m plus add-ons is understood to have been agreed between the clubs.
There are still the final touches to the deal to be completed but Brentford are hopeful the 20-year-old will fly to the UK to undergo a medical early next week.
Sky Sports News exclusively revealed Brentford's interest in Hickey in January - and they attempted to sign him then.
The 20-year-old joined the Serie A club from Hearts - for a reported fee of £1.5m in 2020 and has made 48 appearances for Bologna.
He made his senior Scotland debut in a 1-1 draw with Poland in March.
The West London club are also close to a deal with Hull for Keane Lewis-Potter, as Sky Sports News also exclusively revealed on Friday.
Sky Sports Dan Long:
Owing to their smart, stats-based recruitment model, Brentford kept faith with the majority of the squad that helped the club into the Premier League for the first time in their history last summer and made just a handful of additions, including the club-record signing of Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic. They were rewarded for doing so, too, finishing in 13th, 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
Thomas Frank has already alluded to the fact that they will not be making widespread changes to the squad this summer, but there are some areas that will likely need addressing.
Firstly, in the goalkeeping department, a back-up to David Raya should be a target as the Spanish international missed the best part of four months with a knee injury, with Huesca loanee Alvaro Fernandez failing to capture the imagination during his time as deputy. Jonas Lossl played three games on loan from FC Midtjylland, but the pair have since returned to their parent clubs.
Matthew Cox - who was signed from AFC Wimbledon last summer - has been promoted to the first-team squad, while former England U20 international Ellery Balcombe will be hoping to stake a claim having spent five loan spells away from the club.
They should be targeting a right-sided defender, too. Long-serving winger Sergi Canos was deployed at right wing-back for much of the season, with his defensive abilities called into question on numerous occasions, and when Frank switched to a 4-3-3, Ajer stepped up to play at right-back, impressing as he did so.
However, he is clearly most adept at playing in the heart of defence and is likely to be favoured as Ethan Pinnock's centre-back partner, as captain Pontus Jansson plays out what looks likely to be his final season in England.
Brentford will begin the 2022/23 season - their second as a Premier League club - with a trip to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester on Saturday August 6.