Aaron Hickey has bid an emotional farewell to Hearts as his move to Bologna inches closer to completion.
The 18-year-old’s departure from Tynecastle has dragged on over the summer following strong interest from the Serie A side, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Celtic and Aston Villa.
But, after seeing an initial offer turned down, the Italians have sealed a €2 million deal for the defender.
The teenager will fly to Italy on Wednesday for a medical and is expected to pen a bumper five-year contract.
Hickey started on the books at Hearts before a spell in the youth set-up at Celtic, who it is understood are due to receive 30 per cent of the transfer fee.
But it is with the Jambos that he has made his name, making his debut against Aberdeen in May 2019 whilst still only 16.
The versatile left-back then went on to play 33 times for the first-team, including a starring role in last year’s Scottish Cup final defeat to Celtic when he became the youngest player in the modern era to start in the showpiece event.
In a social media post, he said: “After four amazing years at the club, I want to give a massive thanks to my family and friends, all the players, staff and fans for supporting me through the years.
“Wishing all the best to Heart of Midlothian in the coming seasons.”
Hickey, who was out of contract at Hearts next summer, was invited to Germany for a tour of Bayern Munich’s state-of-the-art facilities, but Bologna’s vow that the youngster will be involved at first-team level appears to have swung things in their favour.
Although Hearts had still not confirmed a deal, Bologna’s sporting director Walter Sabatini said at the weekend they were confident they had won the race for Hickey’s signature.