Premier League

Who is New Brentford Signing Aaron Hickey?

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Brentford has announced the signing of Scottish international full-back Aaron Hickey for a fee of around £18 million. The player will join Thomas Frank’s side from the Italian side of Bologna and represents the club’s fourth signing of the window. Brentford needed to have an active transfer window to help the club avoid the dreaded “second season syndrome” that many recently promoted clubs suffer from. This was especially important as likely relegation rivals Leeds United have spent big this summer.

Who is Aaron Hickey?

Hickey is the latest in a line of dynamic attacking left-backs to come out of Scotland and look for success in the Premier League. The player was brought into the Heart of Midlothian first team in the Scottish Premier League at just 17 years old and quickly impressed. By the end of Hickey’s first full season, he had caught the eye of many clubs including Celtic, Bayern Munich and Bologna. The latter proved to be the player’s destination and the move was a success for both club and player. Hickey has been excellent as a young defender playing in the Italian top flight and made 48 appearances in two years with the club. This successful spell also saw Hickey win his first international cap for the Scottish national team.

Statistically, Hickey is different from most attacking left-backs. He is certainly a goal threat averaging a goal every 9.6 games. This puts the player in the top 6% of players in his position. Hickey also tends to be the player receiving a progressive pass rather than the one making progressive passes. The player receives 2.43 progressive passes which are well above average, but only makes 1.63 per 90 minutes played putting Hickey in the bottom 1%. This isn’t a bad trait but it means he cannot be used as an outlet for teams that play out from the back. When Hickey receives the ball he would rather pass the ball to a safer option than risk losing possession with more offensive passes. This doesn’t mean the player is useless at progressing play though. Hickey is a talented and technical dribbler that uses his skill well to get out of tight situations and drive forward with possession.

Defensively Hickey tends to be a player that uses his speed to get back into position and make late tackles and blocks when required. Hickey is well below average scoring in the bottom 25% of left-backs in the number of clearances, tackles and interceptions. He is not a proactive defender, tending to focus more on getting back into position than winning back possession. This isn’t a problem if the player has defensively responsible players around him, either at left centre back or a covering defensive midfield player. Despite this lack of defensive action, Hickey does defend crosses coming in from his side well blocking 2.11 per 90 minutes played putting him well above average.

How Will Hickey Fit In At Brentford?

At £18 million pounds Hickey is an expensive outlay for Brentford and has certainly been signed to compete for a first-team position with current starter Rico Henry. Interestingly, Rico Henry is one of the only full-backs in the top European Leagues with a similar statistical profile to Aaron Hickey and is likely the reason that Brentford was interested in signing the Scotsman. It means that Thomas Frank can rotate and have defensive cover without changing his tactical style. Hickey is a two-footed player and can cover multiple positions on the pitch despite being primarily a left-sided defender. At Bologna, the player has played at both right back and as a right-sided midfield player. In those appearances, Hickey generally played well, which will add depth to multiple positions at Brentford. At just 20 years old Aaron Hickey has a long way to go in his development and will likely only get better as he adapts to the Premier League. If he can come close to matching his compatriots Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney then Brentford fans can be very excited.


Will Aaron Hickey be a success at Brentford? Let us know what you think! If you enjoyed this content then follow me on Twitter @AzLynchy and also make sure to follow @FootballOTH for more football content!

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