Hearts’ 17-year-old full-back Aaron Hickey has been linked with a whole host of names recently, with strong links to both Leeds and Manchester City emerging.
It has been reported that City are planning a £1.5 million bid for the versatile full-back (Daily Mail). Another report has claimed that Leeds are also interested in his services (The Sun, page 65, 20/10/19).
It has even been said that Arsenal and Liverpool scouted him at the weekend (Scottish Sun). With so much reported interest from so many big teams, Hickey is quickly becoming one of the UK’s most sought after talents.
But Hickey would actually be better off staying where he is.
Leeds and Manchester City too big for Hickey right now
Leeds and Manchester City are massive clubs, and with clubs of such stature, comes added responsibility and pressure. Right now, Hickey’s developing at Hearts with little of it.
That’s helping him a lot. At the weekend he was arguably at fault for Rangers’ goal as the Jambos drew 1-1 with Rangers. Instead of criticising him, fans and pundits alike have felt for him due to his age. Down south at a big club, the reaction may not have been as kind.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are the team where he would be more likely to break into the first-team but even that seems like a longshot. Ezgjan Alioski has cemented the left-back position as his own this year whilst Barry Douglas, who helped Wolves get promoted to the Premier League in 2018, is behind him.
Outwith that they have Leif Davis, a talented 19-year-old full-back waiting for his chance to become an Elland Road star. Even a few years down the line, a Hickey breakthrough at Leeds would seem unlikely.
Manchester City is a tantalising club at the moment but Hickey could get lost in their academy or loan system. Due to the sheer size and world class nature of the club, he wouldn’t be near the first-team for years.
That means he would either be playing youth football again or out on loan, where players like Patrick Roberts have found themselves in a cyle of consistently leaving the Etihad on a temporary basis.
At the end of the day, Hickey’s only played 16 first-team games. Hearts seem keen to get him playing regularly at a high level and that’s what may be best for him right now.