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Aaron Hickey could move to one of Serie A’s big guns as Europe’s Golden Boy

© Massimo Paolone/LaPresse via APBologna's Aaron Hickey celebrates scoring against Sassuolo
Bologna's Aaron Hickey celebrates scoring against Sassuolo

Aaron Hickey has been tipped to be named the European Golden Boy this year by the man who brought him to Bologna.

The former Hearts defender has been a sensation in Serie A, and has been linked with moves to AC Milan and top clubs in England.

He’s netted four goals already for Bologna this season, and the 19-year-old has won plenty of praise in Italy for his displays.

And Walter Sabatini – who has been director of football at Lazio and Roma, and was responsible for bringing Hickey to Bologna when he was sporting director at the club two years ago – believes the former Jambo is destined for huge things.

He said: “If you asked me to predict the next major star, I would say Aaron Hickey at Bologna.

“For me, he will be the next European Golden Boy.

“I’m not just saying that to take the credit for myself. It’s clear he is going to be a fantastic player. He has all the attributes.

“It’s not a surprise he has been linked with big clubs. And if I were at a top club in Italy, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a move.”

The current holder of the European Golden Boy award is Barcelona kid, Pedri, with recent past winners including PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund.

Meanwhile, Hibs are eyeing a January loan move for Barnsley defender, Toby Sibbick.

A 22-year-old who can play at either full-back or centre-half, the Englishman had a similar stint with Hearts in 2020 under Daniel Stendel, who had been his boss with the Tykes.

Speaking then, he said: “I’m quite an athletic player. I’m quick and I enjoy the pressing style that Daniel likes to play.”

Shaun Maloney, the Easter Road club’s new manager, has extensive contacts in England from his spells as player with Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa and Hull City.

Set to stay put in his current loan, however, is Billy Gilmour.

It had been speculated that Chelsea would pull the plug on the Scotland midfielder’s stint with Norwich City, where he has been given abuse by a section of the Canaries’ support.

But that has not fazed the 20-year-old, who is more interested in the fact that since the arrival of Dean Smith in mid-November, he has been getting a regular game, which was not the case under his predecessor, Daniel Farke.

With their player minded to fight on, Chelsea are happy to let the situation carry on as it is.