Aaron Hickey breakdown reveals why Mikel Arteta wants to make Scot Arsenal’s third summer buy – Tom Canton


Arsenal are looking to acquire a new full-back this summer after issues with both the current backup options in the Champions League run-in. Cedric Soares and Nuno Tavares have both faced issues defensively and offensively since covering.

The number one target is Bologna’s Aaron Hickey. The Scottish international is of big interest to Arsenal, football.london understands. In fact, some reports claim that the Gunners have agreed on a deal in the €20m-€25m range. He would be the third signing after Matt Turner and the likely completion of Brazilian Marquinhos.

At 19 years of age, Hickey is a player who few knew too much about. Yet, Takehiro Tomiyasu has delivered plenty of humblings with his performances this season in spite of how unknown he was prior to Arsenal’s acquisition of the then 22-year-old.

READ MORE: Arsenal need ‘next Thiago Silva’ alongside Aaron Hickey transfer to complete dream defence

What Arsenal have looked into is a player with the ability to play on both sides and Hickey can certainly do that. Despite being predominantly left-footed, featuring 30 times on the left this season, he is very good with his right-foot and has begun five matches on the right flank.

With both Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney suffering extended periods out of the team, adding a player of Hickey’s versatility was a near necessity. Especially when taking into account Tavares and Cedric’s own vulnerabilities.

As a player, Hickey loves to progress the ball. A 63.7% success rate of his 2.5 dribbles per match combined with his offensive passing highlights his love of attacking according to Wyscout.

He averages 1.35 passes into the penalty area per 90 minutes with 55.8% reaching their intended target. Below highlights the frequency of the attacks begun and instigated by Hickey.

Aaron Hickey progressive passes and runs plus dribble graphics.
Aaron Hickey progressive passes and runs plus dribble graphics.

The types of crossing vary thanks to how efficient Hickey is with both feet. Examples of in-swinging, out-swinging and low driven crosses are shown below. These are just a small sample of the 49 crosses attempted from a player operating in a side in the bottom half of Serie A.

Examples of Aaron Hickey crossing variation.
Examples of Aaron Hickey crossing variation.

Defensively Hickey will be scrutinised. Especially considering his signing is much to do with the inefficiencies in Arsenal’s own defensive third by the likes of Nuno Tavares.

Comparatively, Hickey averages 7.91 losses per 90 compared to Tavares’ 10.45. He attempts 6.63 defensive duels compared to Tavares’ 5.65. He is aggressive in the opposition half too with 32.6% of his recoveries coming in enemy territory compared to 25.3% for the Portuguese full-back.

Aaron Hickey's defensive graphics for duels and recoveries.
Aaron Hickey’s defensive graphics for duels and recoveries.

Hickey will bring Arsenal plenty of quality and potential. To consider him still to reach his 20th birthday and be performing to such a good level in one of Europe’s elite leagues is very impressive.

Arsenal need to add some world-class upgrades to the striker and central midfield departments. These types of savvy pieces of business though are what will continue to push the Gunners along the right path.

Source by Football London

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