The Athletic’s Gregg Evans has delivered a major transfer update on Aston Villa’s forgotten man Conor Hourihane.
The Republic of Ireland international struggled to get much game-time at Villa Park in the first half of the season in the Premier League last year, playing just 228 minutes of top-flight football before his departure for Swansea on loan deal in January.
Now, Evans has revealed that Hourihane “is expected to generate a healthy transfer fee — and profit on the £2m he cost to buy from Barnsley back in 2017 — if he moves this summer”.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of a game against West Ham earlier last season, Villa manager Dean Smith was quick to acknowledge that it was difficult for Hourihane.
He said: “Conversations can be difficult but if you’re just speaking to the players with honesty then you usually find a way through that.
“We’d played two, won two and Conor had come off in both games. We signed Ross (Barkley) and I felt we needed to go a different way against Liverpool given who we were playing against. I explained that to Conor and, yes, he was disappointed because he had been involved in the first two games but we felt we’d brought in a real, high-calibre, different type of player.”
The fact Smith felt perfectly happy to let the £40k-a-week Hourihane leave the club on loan for the second-half of the season paints a real story of just how far down the pecking order he is at Villa Park.
It would be the best move for all parties for him to leave on a permanent transfer this summer, especially with the club also having brought in Morgan Sanson in the January transfer window too.