West Brom are reportedly interested in signing Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane, according to The Athletic…
What’s the story?
Hourihane has been with Aston Villa since 2017, and has gone on to make 150 appearances since signing for the club from Championship side Barnsley.
The 26-cap Irish international played his part in the club’s promotion-winning season in 2018/19, but has found consistent minutes hard to come by in recent seasons.
The arrival of John McGinn has forced him out of the starting XI, with Hourihane leaving the club on a temporary basis during the 2020/21 season, as he went on to sign for Swansea City on loan.
But since returning to Villa Park, it seems as though the £3.15m-rated ace’s days with Dean Smith’s side are going to be numbered, with Sheffield United rivalling West Brom to a potential agreement for the midfielder.
Proven Championship experience
West Brom will be eager to win promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking, after being relegated from the top-flight last term.
The Baggies were hugely impressive in their promotion-winning campaign in the 2019/20 season, and the club’s supporters will be keen to see similar success from their side this year.
But for that to happen, reinforcements are needed, especially with squad rotation likely during the hectic Championship fixture list.
Hourihane could turn out to be a shrewd addition for the Baggies as well, with the Irishman having a considerable amount of experience in the second tier of English football.
More importantly, though, he’s shown that he can perform to a high standard at this level, which will make him a player in-demand this summer. Therefore, it’s not a surprise to see that the likes of West Brom are keen to land his signature before the transfer window reaches a conclusion later this year.
Hourihane was labelled as ‘excellent’ by Swansea boss Steve Cooper whilst with the Championship side, and he’ll be hoping he can have his future resolved at the earliest of opportunities.
“I thought he was excellent, he’s been so impressive since he walked through the door.”
Hourihane netted five goals in his loan spell with Swansea City, which put him joint-third with Connor Roberts on the list for the Swans’ top goalscorers in the 2020/21 season – only behind forwards Jamal Lowe (14) and Andre Ayew (17) in the rankings.
Swansea have been well-known for having their fair share of possession in matches in recent seasons, with Steve Cooper’s side averaging 50.2% possession in last year’s campaign.
Hourihane has shown that he’s more than comfortable on the ball as well, with the 30-year-old having a pass success rate of 78.6%, which puts him fifth on the list for Swansea last term.
Therefore, West Brom would be having a player that some might feel ticks all the right boxes for a team that are likely to be in the hunt for promotion into the Premier League once again.
Ismael must urge a move for the Villa midfielder.