Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane has been linked with a move to join newly-relegated Championship club West Brom, as first reported by The Athletic.
The 30-year-old spent the second half of last season with Swansea City, helping the South Wales club strengthen their promotion bid.
It remains to be seen if Hourihane has a future with The Villains. The Republic of Ireland international has just a year left on his current contract with the Premier League club, meaning he could end up leaving on a free transfer if no deal is struck this summer or in January.
Hourihane has nearly 150 Championship appearances to his name and has also featured in 31 Premier League games throughout his career thus far.
Is it a good potential move?
With Matheus Pereira’s West Brom future in doubt, Hourihane could provide an excellent short-term solution.
At 30 years old, he is seemingly coming to his peak and could provide the creative spark that The Baggies will need for a few more years.
For Hourihane, a move will give him security as he approaches the final year of his contract, and should a move go through, he will be awarded with a very good chance to help a Championship side get promoted.
Villa are seemingly moving in a new direction and it seems that the 30-year-old’s time at the club is coming to an end.
Would he start?
The future of Pereira will dictate what kind of role Hourihane would play if he does join West Brom. The pair are very attack-minded midfielders, who look for the killer passes to get beyond opposing defences.
Ismael could certainly integrate them both into the side, but it would probably be at the expense of a striker.
If Pereira does head for pastures new, then Hourihane’s role would be very similar to how the Brazilian has been operating for the last couple of years, and how Hourihane has played for the entirety of his career thus far.
What does he offer?
The Villa man consistently offers an attacking threat. He is an excellent carrier of possession and has the dribbling ability to do serious damage in the Championship.
However, he also knows when to shift possession, and combines that with the ability to accurately cut through defences with intricate and perfectly timed passes into space.
He is a player who should not be afforded time around the edge of the box. He has a wand of a left foot and that is evidenced by some of the sublime goals he has scored during his career so far.
Hourihane is also a relentless presser who will get stuck in for his teammates – something he particularly displayed under the demanding Steve Cooper at Swansea last year.