Scotland international Aaron Hickey has moved from Bologna to Brentford, signing a four-year deal with the Premier League side.
The 20-year-old has joined the Bees for an undisclosed fee and has begun training with Thomas Frank’s side ahead of the new season.
The move continues the rise of the versatile defender, who left Hearts for Italy as a teenager in September 2020.
Hickey, who can play at right or left back, had impressed in Serie A last season as he played in 36 of their 38 league games. The defender also broke into the Scotland squad and has earned four caps to date.
Brentford boss Frank said that the club were delighted to be signing a player who already had extensive experience despite his age.
“I am very pleased that we have managed to sign Aaron,” he said. “What he has already achieved in his career is very impressive. He is only 20 and has played a full season in Scotland as well as almost two seasons in Serie A.
“We think that Aaron is a player with great potential, who already has an impressive number of games at a good level under his belt. We believe that we have proven we are a good club for players to maximise their potential. We think we can help him be even better.
“Aaron is a rare thing in modern football in that he is equally good with both feet. He is technically very sound and is good when he has the ball in tight areas. He is an attacking full back that has good creativity, he is a great crosser of the ball, and scored goals in Serie A last year. Having played two years in Italy, we know he will have good defensive traits. There are areas to improve and we are looking forward to having him with us so we can be part of his development as a player.”
Brentford’s director of football Phil Giles said the club had been tracking Hickey for a while and had tried to sign him earlier this year.
“We tried to sign Aaron back in January but unfortunately, as with so many mid-season transfers, it wasn’t possible to complete a deal at that point,” he said. “We felt it best to wait until the summer and try again, and Aaron was one of our top targets for this window.
“I’m pleased that we’ve finally managed to sign Aaron and I’m sure he’ll be a big success with us.”