The Scotland defender is in London for a medical and will sign a long-term contract with the English Premier League club barring any unexpected late hitches. As part of his 2020 transfer from Edinburgh to Italy, Hearts have a sell-on clause worth six figures.
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.
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Other clubs in England and Italy were interested in signing 20-year-old Hickey following two strong years in Serie A. He scored five times in 36 appearances for Bologna last term and made his international debut against Poland in March.
Brentford have agreed a deal to pay Bologna £14m up front and potentially a further £5m in add-ons for the full-back. Hearts can now rely on a windfall coming their way.
“There definitely is a sell-on,” said Savage 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.”