Aaron Hickey has been linked with a January move to Aston Villa but, speaking to Zerocinquantuno, the Serie A star has explained why he rejected the Premier League outfit in summer 2020.
Not so long ago, you could count the amount of British footballers plying their trade on the continent on one hand, the likes of David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves ploughing a lone furrow on foreign soil.
Things are very different these days, however.
Kieran Trippier won the La Liga title with Atletico Madrid, Omar Richards swapped Reading for Bayern Munich while Jude Bellingham, perhaps inspired by Three Lions teammate Jadon Sancho, is blossoming into one of Europe’s most exciting up-and-coming talents at Borussia Dortmund.
And Glasgow-born 19-year-old Hickey has no regrets about deciding to leave Hearts for Bologna’s Stadio Renato Dall’Ara 14 months ago.
Why did Aaron Hickey turn down Aston Villa and Celtic?
“One of the main reasons (why I signed for Bologna) is that, when I came to visit, I had extremely positive feelings,” Hickey explains when asked why he chose Bologna over a move to Aston Villa, Celtic, Lazio or Bayern Munich.
“Elsewhere, I didn’t feel the same things and this undoubtedly influenced my decision, making me understand Bologna has nothing to envy the top European clubs for. It was the right choice.
“It has been a good first year. I would say ‘different’ – a different environment, a different language, a different style of football – but I really like all of this.”
Hickey, who idolises Liverpool and Scotland star Andy Robertson, returned to the gossip columns recently with The Sun (17 October, page 59) reporting Celtic and Aston Villa were planning to test Bologna’s resolve with a January bid.
Celtic are reported to have offered about £3.5 million in the summer for a player who spent four years in their academy before leaving Glasgow for Edinburgh.
According to Il Resto del Carlino, Bologna want closer to £7 million.