Former Sheffield United player Dean Windass believes Conor Hourihane is exactly the type of player Sheffield United need for the remainder of the 2021/22 season, speaking about this move to The Transfer Tavern.
30-year-old Hourihane has been surplus to requirements at parent Aston Villa since the beginning of last campaign, failing to nail down a starting spot before being sent out on loan to Swansea City earlier this year.
The central midfielder proved to be a hit in Wales, making a total of 24 appearances during his loan spell and guiding the Swans to the Championship play-off final.
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He has now been sent back out on loan to another second-tier side in Sheffield United, joining on the penultimate day of the summer transfer window and linking up with Slavisa Jokanovic’s side who will want to recover from their poor start to the season.
Despite this poor run of form, the calibre of players in their squad and a two-time promotion-winning manager at the helm would mean anything less than promotion back to the Premier League would be a major disappointment for the South Yorkshire side.
The addition of Hourihane, who has a wealth of Premier League and Championship experience with Aston Villa, Barnsley and Swansea, may have gone a long way in boosting their top-flight hopes and former Sheffield United man Dean Windass believes the Republic of Ireland international is a shrewd addition for the Blades.
In an interview with The Transfer Tavern, he said: “What a great signing (Hourihane) that’ll be for Sheffield United – good experience, played in the Premier League, knows his way around a football pitch, good midfielder player, good passer, can get you a goal as well.
“Sheffield United need somebody like that now, you can’t just keep relying on Billy Sharp all the time. Yeah they’ve struggled in the Championship at the start but I’m sure they’ll be alright in it.”
This has been a reasonably poor transfer window for Sheffield United, not just because they failed to address one or two other positions that needed to be lacked at, but also because they left some of their business until the last minute.
The nature of the market has been very different compared to previous windows, but you would have hoped the Blades would’ve been able to impose themselves with transfers and managed to get a few more players in around late July/early August when then-new boss Jokanovic had the opportunity fully assess his squad.
One upside of the transfer window though has been the addition of Hourihane, who will be a reliable man in the middle of the park and along with Morgan Gibbs-White, they will help to provide the quality, depth and competition needed in central midfield to take the Blades to the next level.
Despite the amount of competition in the middle of the park, it would be hard to see the Irishman not starting after making such a good impact at Aston Villa and Swansea City in the Championship, but will need to be consistent if he wants to retain his status as one of the first names on the teamsheet.
After being left out in the cold at Villa Park, he will be working extra hard to ensure he doesn’t experience the same feeling at Bramall Lane and this can only be a good thing for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side.