Left-back Hickey has been strongly linked with a switch to the north London club. However, he is understood to harbour concerns about game time as understudy to Kieran Tierney on the back of regular senior involvement for the 20-year-old across his two years in Serie A that has turbo-charged his career. And that could open the door for Brentford to prise the former Hearts defender from his current posting with it understood that they are currently making the strongest overtures in the pursuit of the player.
A £1.5m signing for Bologna, Brentford would not baulk at the asking price in having cemented their place among the English elite following their promotion last summer. Their 13th-place finish under manager Thomas Frank was achieved with a youthful squad – including then 23-year-old Kristoffer Ajer, recruited for a record £13.5m fee from Celtic – that was assembled to follow the sustainable model of buying potential to be developed and moved on for profit.
A move for the Scotland international would fit with that policy. And that could reap a windfall for Hearts, thought to have inserted a sell-on clause when striking a deal with Bologna two summers ago. Arsenal, West Ham and Leeds United are understood to be keeping close tabs on the situation but it could be that Brentford turn out to be the best fit for Hickey to continue his development.