This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Aston Villa are willing to let Conor Hourihane leave the club on loan to the Championship this month, with several clubs thought to be interested.
The midfielder has been struggling for game time at Villa this season and, as per Pete O’Rourke, he could now leave the club on loan with several sides apparently interested.
Who should be looking at him, then? Some of our team here at FLW take a look…
I think nearly every team in the Championship would take Hourihane on loan if they could – he is that good of a midfielder.
The last time the Irishman played in the second tier he scored seven goals and notched 12 assists which proved he was ready to test his mettle in the top flight, and whilst it’s unfortunate he has been pushed out of the Villa team, he shouldn’t be ashamed to be replaced by quality like John McGinn and Douglas Luiz.
Looking at the top Championship teams right now, it’s hard to see where he doesn’t improve any of the current starters.
He would easily slip into Norwich’s midfield two ahead of Kenny McLean, Swansea City would happily have him in their squad as a replacement for the departed Morgan Gibbs-White, and whilst it may not be an ideal fit due to him being left-footed – the same as Josh DaSilva – he would even be a cracking signing for Brentford.
There will probably be a huge number of suitors in the race for Hourihane and I’m excited to see where he ends up.
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I imagine there would be a host of Championship sides keen.
Hourihane has showcased that he has the ability to shine in the second tier, with him becoming a key part of Villa’s side in the Championship, whilst excelling with Barnsley prior to that.
The 29-year-old is adept both offensively and defensively, and his ability from set-pieces is top notch, he can be a real useful tool to have.
For me, I immediately thought of QPR here as someone who could do with his experience and guile in the middle of the park.
I could see him complementing the likes of Dom Ball and Tom Carroll for the R’s, with him able to do the dirty work whilst also having the ability to initiate attacks and create chances for Charlie Austin and Lyndon Dykes.
As aforementioned though, he’d get in a large majority of second-tier sides so I expect there to be a lot of interest.
I think the Villa man would be a useful signing for a string of Championship sides.
You feel the Republic of Ireland international will be keen to join a team battling in the top half of the table and I wouldn’t be hugely surprised to see Brentford show an interest as they look to bolster their squad for a promotion push.
Bristol City are in desperate need of reinforcements after seeing their midfield ravaged by injuries and I think a player of Hourihane’s ability would suit them perfectly.
But the perfect move could well be back to Barnsley, the club at which he had such joy in previous years.
Ismael Valerien’s side look like they may launch a play-off push in the second half of the season and more midfield quality will help that.
There are question marks over the future of Alex Mowatt, signing Hourihane would be perfect cover.