Aaron Hickey's £18m move to Brentford nets signifiant sell-on fee for Hearts
The 20-year-old Scotland international has signed a four-year contract, with the Serie A club receiving an initial £14m fee and the price expected to rise to just over £18m if performance-related add-ons are met.
Hearts inserted a sell-on clause into the deal which took the left-back from Edinburgh to Italy two years ago.
The Tynecastle club’s sporting director Joe Savage confirmed to this newspaper in May that the Hickey deal stipulates Bologna must forward a certain portion from any future sale. The Evening News has learned that amount is a pre-agreed six-figure sum which will now be wired to Hearts’ bank account.
The initial fee from Hickey’s transfer to Bologna accounted for most of the £944,000 Hearts earned from player sales during the 2020/21 campaign. Club officials felt that payment combined with the sell-on clause was a positive deal at the time amid Covid 19 uncertainty and their enforced relegation to the Championship.
“There definitely is a sell-on,” Hearts sporting director Joe Savage told The Evening News back in May. “There are a lot of rumours but we need to see if they will come true or not and whether Aaron is actually going to sign for another club.
“We are delighted for him as a player and a person. He has been brilliant over in Italy so we're pleased about that. We do have a sell-on so we do get a percentage of any sale, so it should be good for the club.
“Any club in the world developing and selling players, you have to protect yourself. You want a sell-on in the deal, you want some sort of add-ons in it or a buy-back option. Whatever it may be, you need to look after the interests of your own club. Hearts did that with Aaron.”
Hickey earned the move to Bologna after a very impressive 2019/20 campaign despite Hearts ultimately finishing bottom of the truncated campaign. He quickly established himself as a regular in Serie A, scoring five goals in 36 appearances last season and earning his first Scotland caps.
Hickey will provide competition for current left-back Rico Henry at Brentford.
Manager Thomas Frank told the club's official website: “I am very pleased that we have managed to sign Aaron. 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.
He added: "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.
"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."