Arteta decides on first Arsenal summer signing amid Tavares doubts and defensive injury issues

Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Bologna defender Aaron Hickey with Mikel Arteta keen on bolstering his defensive options.

The young defender joined Bologna from Hearts and has become a mainstay in the Italian club’s starting XI this campaign.

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He has made 33 appearances in 2021/22, scoring five goals and providing one assist as Bologna sit 13th in the Serie A table.

Hickey has been linked with numerous clubs with a report last month claiming at least 12 Premier League clubs – including all of the ‘big six’ – are monitoring the 19-year-old.

With interest hotting up, the Scotland international recently commented on his future in Italy. He said: “My goal this season was to play more games than last season. I achieved that aim and that’s something I am very happy about.

“The important thing is to keep my head down and keep improving with a coaching staff that are helping me a lot.

“Now I think about my future only here in Bologna.

“The way we play helps me a lot compared to what I was used to in Scotland. In terms of my progress, I have to keep improving to gain experience and help the team. But personally, I think I still need to improve both in the attacking and defensive parts of my game.”

According to Football London, Arsenal are contemplating making a move for Hickey in the upcoming summer transfer window.

€20m – Hickey to Arsenal

It's emerged in the last hour that Arsenal are keen to get Hickey over the line as their first summer signing.

Would be in line with their new youthful side, scout linked to Bologna after Tomiyasu signing & Tierney injuries plus no settled RB.

— ScotsAbroadPod (@ScotsAbroadPod) May 2, 2022

Arsenal manager Arteta is looking to bulk up his defence by adding a versatile left-sided player in the summer.

Kieran Tierney is out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, meanwhile, former Bologna man Takehiro Tomiyasu has recently returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Furthermore, Portuguese left-back Nuno Tavares has failed to impress in his first season at Arsenal with his defensive performances coming under scrutiny.

The report adds that Cedric Soares is happy at the club and is likely to stay in north London despite reported interest from Newcastle United.

Bologna are said to be asking for a fee in the region of €20m for Hickey, who is very two-footed and can play on either side of the defence.

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