Brentford are leading Arsenal in the race to sign Scottish sensation Aaron Hickey, reports say.
Hickey, 19, has been on an upward curve since joining Bologna in 2020, scoring five goals in 35 appearances for the Serie A side this season.
The Gunners are looking to sign a left-back in the summer to replace Nuno Tavares and have reportedly set their sights on Hickey.
However, according to the Daily Mail, Brentford are now favourites to sign the full-back in a £13million deal despite interest from fellow Premier League club Newcastle United.
Losing out on Hickey would be a blow to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta who envisaged the Scotsman making a similar impact to Kieran Tierney at the Emirates.
The Gunners were believed to be interested in signing Hickey before he left Hearts two years ago and are in desperate need of cover at left-back with Tavares struggling to prove an adequate replacement for Tierney in recent weeks.
In their 2-0 defeat at St James’s Park on Monday night, the Portuguese made a foul throw in the lead up to Newcastle’s first goal and was at fault for two of Crystal Palace’s goals in a 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park last month.
After being in pole position to qualify for the Champions League, Arsenal now trail fourth-placed Tottenham by two points with just one game to go.
Failure to secure a place in Europe’s top table next season is expected to damage Arteta’s ability to attract and fund signings this summer.
Speaking after his side’s setback at Newcastle, the Spaniard was evidently frustrated to hand a massive advantage to Tottenham in the top-four race.
He said: ‘It’s a really tough night. Normally, I can sit here and I can defend, but what we’ve done today, it’s not easy.
‘Newcastle were one hundred times better than us in every department from the beginning to the end and it’s hard to accept to accept, but you have to accept it and that’s the reality of what happened today on that pitch.
‘We knew (what was at stake), but we didn’t cope with it. We didn’t compete, we never got into the game, we put ourselves in trouble time after time, we lost every duel. Every aspect of the game we were second best.’
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