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First Arsenal summer signing ‘close’ as Edu nears confirmation for £21.8m transfer

Arsenal are nearing the signing of Bologna full-back Aaron Hickey as their first piece of confirmed transfer business this summer, according to reports. The 19-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium, with a deal said to be ‘very likely’.

The Scotland international could be part of a wider plan for Mikel Arteta to improve his squad depth in the transfer market. The lack of options towards the business end of the last campaign proved a particular issue.

That could be something the Spaniard looks to address, with Hickey a potential solution to that, while also promising plenty for the future. The left-back would be competing with both Kieran Tierney and Nuno Tavares for a place though.

Compatriot Tierney struggled with injuries last season, leaving youngster Tavares to fill in during his debut campaign. The Portuguese full-back struggled at times though, perhaps prompting the move for Hickey.

Discussing the difficulties the summer arrival faced in moving to the Premier League, Arteta said back in April: “His confidence probably wasn’t the best because he wasn’t playing a lot of minutes and he needs the rhythm, the competition and the understanding with his teammates.”

While Tavares struggled to impress at times, Hickey has managed to place himself on the world stage. The 19-year-old managed 36 Serie A appearances for Bologna, becoming the latest young player to impress in Italy.

It has led to reported Arsenal interest, with the latest report from Gazzetta dello Sport, via the Metro, claiming that a deal is closing in on completion and is “very likely”. It goes on to add that the transfer fee is worth roughly £21.75million.

It would be a chunk from the budget for the Gunners, however the defender could provide that needed depth as well as ability and promise at left-back given Tierney’s injury issues.

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