If Celtic want Golden Boy candidate Aaron Hickey, they need to act fast
Celtic need to get their skates on if they’re going to sign Golden Boy candidate Aaron Hickey.
Hickey, formerly of Hearts, was named amongst the 100 nominees for the prestigious award [Tuttosport]. Alongside the likes of former Rangers talent Billy Gilmour and Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Jude Bellingham, Hickey has stiff competition if he’s going to lift the award.
Currently of Serie A sign Bologna, Hickey has impressed in Serie A after a surprising move. The full-back, who can operate on either side, was once on the books at Lennoxtown. Just like Andy Robertson, Hickey was jettisoned, before starting to realise his potential elsewhere.
The Bhoys were linked with a move for Hickey in May [Sun], but there’ll surely be plenty of interest in his services this summer. Despite injury concerns, and contracting Covid-19, Hickey still managed to break into the first team, making 11 appearances [Transfermarkt].
With Celtic desperately needing reinforcements in the full-back positions, Hickey is a no-brainer. However, he’ll come at a cost, even though he sounds keen on the idea. In April, he told the Herald:
“Celtic came in a lot and I was excited and happy about it.
“I don’t know if it was the right option for me, though, because of the deal or something.
“I’m a Celtic supporter and it was massive for me, but I just didn’t think it was the right time to go there.
“I wouldn’t ever rule it out down the line, who knows.”
Golden Boy nominee will be attracting interest, Celtic need to step up
Given that Boli Bolingoli is unlikely to feature next season, and Adam Montgomery is still a very raw prospect, reinforcement at left-back is crucial. However, Hickey’s versatility and pace could also see him utilised on the right of defence.
In either case, he seems very much a Postecoglou-type player. Brave to the point of fearlessness, Hickey has no problem embarking on long runs down the wing and taking players on. But he’s also more than adept at the defensive side of the game, impressing for Hearts since his move from Celtic’s Academy.
Golden Boy nominees tend to move for big money, though. 2019 winner Joao Felix moved to Atletico Madrid for £113m [BBC]. Other winners, like Kylian Mbappé, Erling Haaland and Paul Pogba have moved for eye-watering sums. Of course, those are just the winners, and not everyone on the top 100 is going to move for Pogba money, but the point remains; even being nominated probably adds at least a million or two to Hickey’s evaluation.
If ever there was a time to get Hickey in, it’d be now. But be warned Celtic, there will no doubt be other clubs watching the situation with great interest.