Arsenal face battle to sign the ‘new Philipp Lahm’ with West Ham and Newcastle keen

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Arsenal face a battle to sign Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey. The Scotland international, who has been likened to Bayern Munich and Germany legend Philipp Lahm, is also reportedly attracting interest from West Ham and Newcastle.

Arsenal are in the market for a full-back this summer who can cover for Kieran Tierney. Mikel Arteta was not able to rely on Nuno Tavares for much of his first season in England due to a number of poor performances.

Tierney’s sketchy injury record means Arteta needs a capable back-up option. And reports Hickey is a top target for the Gunners.

However, West Ham are also linked. Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport claimed last week the Hammers and Arsenal had both made offers to Bologna for Hickey.

Later in the same week, the same outlet explained how Newcastle are also interested in the 19-year-old. Hickey has previously received some big plaudits from one of his former coaches.

Daniel Stendel was manager at Hearts during Hickey’s only full season in the first team with the Scottish Premiership side. The German said in August 2020 how he sees similarities between Hickey and Lahm due to his versatility to play in different positions. Stendel told the Scottish Sun: “Aaron is an extraordinary talent.

“For such a young age, he is extremely calm and composed on the ball. He never panics, never loses his cool and always seems to make the right decisions. Despite being so young, he’s very hard to play against.

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“Aaron as a player is like Philipp Lahm. For me at Hearts, he played as a full-back.

“He not only runs up and down the line, but looks for attacking moves like Lahm once did. And Aaron can also play in the central midfield.”

Hickey has enjoyed a fine breakthrough season in the first team at Bologna. He made 36 Serie A appearances, scoring five goals.

The teenager initially started in the ranks at Hearts before a four-year spell in Celtic’s academy. He rejoined Hearts in 2018 before moving to Italy two years later.

Hickey has a contract at Bologna until 2024. But, speaking to Sky Sports last week, he admitted he was open to a new challenge if it arises.

He said: “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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