Reported Leeds United target Aaron Hickey has been deemed the best player for Hearts this season by Scottish pundits Alex Rae and Mark Wilson, despite the player being just 17.
The teenage left-back has made 22 appearances in the Scottish Premiership, scoring once, as well as appearing in the club’s Scottish Cup final last season in just his third senior appearance.
As well as Leeds being linked to Hickey (The Sun on Sunday, print edition, page 65, October 20, 2019), a host of other clubs are believed to be interested in his services.
According to The Sun, reported suitors include Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton, Norwich City, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Manchester City, Rangers and Celtic.
Hearts assistant coach Austin MacPhee has previously compared Hickey to Jonny Evans and Sergio Busquets, as reported by The Scottish Sun.
Now, pundits are sending praise the youngster’s way, with former Rangers man Rae and former Celtic player Wilson praising the player in the Scottish Sun.
“When you’re showing a level of performance he is in a struggling team he thoroughly deserves it (to be named Hearts’ top player),” wrote Rae.
“He’s got a bright future ahead of him and I think the performances he’s putting in for Hearts makes it an easy decision.”
Wilson added: “It’s a tough one but I think the glimmer of hope is young Aaron Hickey. It still looks like he’s improving. He’s still got flaws in his game like any young boy has but there’s no doubt the raw talent is there.
“He’s played in some big games and scored against Hibs which he’ll remember for the rest of his life. I like to see young upcoming talent follow up their breakthrough season which was last year and he’s done that with a consistent run of games in a tough, tough season in a harsh environment.”
Hickey is an incredibly talented player, with an impressive number of games under his belt despite his young age, and so it’s not surprising that he is being linked with some of Britain’s best clubs.
While Hearts were believed to have placed a “big price” on Hickey, the Jambos’ request for players to take a 50-per-cent pay cut has alerted clubs to a possible bargain deal, according to The Sun.
The outlet even claims that Hickey could wind up becoming a free agent if Hearts can’t pay his wages in the coming months – which is likely to lead to a scramble for his services.
While Leeds would have huge competition for his signature, the chance to learn under one of the greatest coaches in the game in Marcelo Bielsa, and a great setup in Thorp Arch, could be used as charm offensives.