Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal's win against West Ham
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Arsenal are reportedly weighing up a summer move for Bologna left-back Aaron Hickey as Kieran Tierney continues to battle injuries. Nuno Tavares, who is deputising for the Scotsman, has left fans frustrated with his wayward performances and Mikel Arteta could look to revamp the position with Hickey’s arrival.
At the beginning of the season Arsenal were believed to be well-stocked at left-back with Tierney a fan favourite and Tavares signed from Benfica. The Portuguese youngster started well enough, but performances have fallen away and fans watch on nervously with the top-four race finely poised.
Football.london claim that Arteta is interested in launching a summer swoop for Hickey. The teenage Scot made the unusual switch from Hearts to Bologna in the summer of 2020, but has made a great impression since breaking into the first team this campaign.
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The Italian side are supposedly prepared to sanction his departure if they can bank £17million in the deal. The Gunners may face competition, however, with Newcastle United, Brentford and AC Milan also believed to be monitoring the youngster’s progress.
Hickey’s name has been out in the open for several years, becoming one of the youngest players ever to feature in a Scottish Cup final when he turned out for Hearts in 2019. He has bagged five goals and an assist from wing-back this season, and has shown versatility by featuring on both flanks – an attribute Arteta appears to value highly.
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It remains to be seen how his prospective arrival would impact the crop of full-backs already at the club. Given that Hickey is still just 19-years-old, Tierney’s starting spot would be presumed safe. A Tavares exit may not prompt too many tears from fans, but he could be difficult for the Gunners to offload after a tricky debut campaign in north London.
The 22-year-old is low on confidence and perceived as something of a liability by many. Arteta hauled him off at half time against Crystal Palace last month, and some fans are already wincing at the prospect of him attempting to contain Dejan Kulusevski in next month’s north London derby, which could have a telling effect on which side clinches fourth spot.
“Throughout your career, you have to go through really difficult moments,” said Arteta in April. “He had some really good periods when he arrived at the club and was playing many more minutes than he was probably expecting.
“This is the development of any young player. You go through ups and downs and we’re here to help him to make his career better. His confidence may have been low because he wasn’t playing many minutes and he wasn’t at his best. He needs the rhythm, the competition and the understanding with his team-mates.”
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