Sheffield United are stepping up their interest in a deal to bring Conor Hourihane to Bramall Lane this summer.
That’s according to a claim made by Reach journalist Darren Witcoop, who revealed in a post on Twitter that Slavisa Jokanovic has now turned his attention to the Aston Villa central midfielder as Fulham have informed the Serbian manager that his primary summer target, Tom Cairney, is not for sale.
The Athletic recently reported both United and West Bromwich Albion’s interest in the 30-year-old, who is entering the final year of his contract at Villa Park.
And, it would now appear as if Sheffield United are in the driving seat for the Republic of Ireland international, with Witcoop stating: “Sheffield United now stepping up their interest in Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane.”
Considering the vast amount of Championship experience Hourihane has under his belt, it is an easy argument to make that the midfielder would be a big coup if Sheffield United do go on to land the 30-year-old ahead of West Brom this summer.
Indeed, over his 46 Championship appearances during Aston Villa’s promotion-winning campaign back in 2018/19, the £3.15m-rated man scored eight goals, registered 12 assists and created 11 big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 1.8 shots and making 1.6 key passes per game.
These returns saw the man Dean Smith dubbed a “superb” player earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.20, ranking him as Villa’s third-best performer in the second tier of English football that season.
The £30k-per-week midfielder also impressed over his 22 Championship appearances while on loan at Swansea City last season, scoring five goals, claiming two assists and providing two big chances for his teammates.
These metrics saw Hourihane earn an average SofaScore match rating of 7.02, ranking him as Steve Cooper’s sixth-best performer in the league, playing a huge part in helping the Swans reach the play-off final.
As such, with United undoubtedly hoping to mount their own promotion push next season, the addition of a player who has demonstrated just how useful he is for a side fighting to secure top-flight football would undeniably be a fantastic signing for Jokanovic to get over the line this summer, especially with John Lundstram having left for Rangers.