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Aaron Hickey and Mattias Svanberg are ‘strong candidates’ to leave Bologna amid interest from Premier League duo Arsenal and Southampton, the Serie A club’s technical director tells Tuttosport, translated by TMW.

With Svanberg out of contract next summer and Hickey’s deal expiring in 2024, the Rossoblu are not exactly in a position of strength as they look to retain two of the most coveted footballers currently plying their trade at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara. 

According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Southampton have already submitted a lowball bid of just £5 million for Svanberg. Bologna are holding out for £10 million for the all-action Swede

Arsenal, meanwhile, continue to be linked with a potential £20 million swoop for free-scoring full-back Hickey. Aston Villa are another interested party. The Express and Star say that a new left-sided defender is right at the top of Steven Gerrard’s summer to-do list. 

Arsenal and Southampton plan Bologna raid

“Hickey and Svanberg seem like strong candidates to leave,” Sartori admits. “Then we will deal with the renewals. There are many contracts that expire in 2024 and we do not want to (end up in a situation) like with Svanberg.” 

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One of those aforementioned contracts belongs to Musa Barrow; the explosive left-winger linked with a potential £16 million move to Fulham. Now, 2024 might seem like a long way. But think about it this way. On year from now, Barrow and Hickey will have just 12 months remaining. 

And, as a result, Bologna’s ability to demand a substantial transfer fee will go up in a plume of foul-smelling smoke. Svanberg, for instance, is worth about 50 per cent less now than he was a year ago. 

Sartori, however, insists that there are no plans to let Belgium defender Arthur Theate go. Per Gazzetta dello Sport, Theate is keen on a move to West Ham United. 

“We want to keep Theate,” Sartori adds. “We know he could be worth much more than he has already shown.” 

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In other news, Moyes now wants 23-year-old Manchester United target at West Ham