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West Brom identify Conor Hourihane as summer transfer target

West Bromwich Albion have reportedly identified Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane as a summer transfer target.

What’s the word?

That is according to Football League World, who claimed that the planning for summer recruitment has already commenced at The Hawthorns ahead of next season.

Steve Bruce is understood to have identified some transfer targets, with one of those being Conor Hourihane, who has spent this season on loan at Sheffield United.

The 31-year-old spoke last month about his Villa future and conceded in an interview with the Irish Examiner: “That Villa chapter is probably done. There’s been nothing, to be honest with you. No conversations there so we’ll see what happens in the summer.”

The Republic of Ireland international’s £42k-p/w contract is set to expire this summer, so Bruce should be able to sign him on a free.

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A super move

The deal would represent great value for West Brom, who would be recruiting a player who shares their hopes of reaching English football’s pinnacle in the Premier League and knows exactly what the Championship is all about.

However, from Hourihane’s perspective it could be a risky proposition. The 31-year-old has started just 16 of the 27 appearances that he has made for Sheffield United, and he may not find game-time easy to come by at The Hawthorns next season with competition for places pretty steep.

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Hourihane, who is capable of a “super” strike according to Keith Costigan, would face a battle with Adam Reach, Jake Livermore, Alex Mowatt, Jayson Molumby and potentially Taylor Gardner-Hickman, who has also been played in midfield on numerous occasions this season.

From Bruce’s perspective, having depth in the form of Hourihane would be beneficial, but it remains uncertain as to whether the Irishman would want to take on a role which comes with so much competition for game-time.

Hourihane has provided four assists in his 27 appearances for Sheffield United this season and has shared the role with John Fleck, who has started 66% of the Blades’ matches in the 2021/22 Championship.

Baggies fans would likely be happy with the signing of Hourihane on a free transfer, with Bruce eyeing up a move for the experienced midfielder in a bid to bolster his Premier League-chasing squad.

In other news: West Brom must now swoop in for “talented” £25k-p/w target, he would be a “big asset”…

Article title: West Brom identify Conor Hourihane as summer transfer target

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