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Sheffield United may have replacement in-house should Aston Villa, Norwich City deal go ahead: Opinion



There have been plenty of managerial appointments in recent weeks but there’s one in particular that looks as though it could impact Sheffield United in January. 

No, not Chris Wilder to Middlesbrough – though he might come sniffing around some of his former players – it’s the arrival of Dean Smith at Norwich City that could see Slavisa Jokanovic lose one of his summer signings when the winter window opens.

That’s according to Football Insider, who have reported that Smith is set to raid his former club Aston Villa for Conor Hourihane.

Only, of course, the 30-year-old isn’t at Villa, he’s on loan with the Blades.

Smith is said to be keen to make Hourihane one of the first signings of his Canaries’ tenure while it is understood due to a lack of playtime, the 30-year-old could be recalled and sent out on loan to Carrow Road instead.

Hourihane made a bright start to life at Bramall Lane, providing 2 assists in his first Championship start, but he’s fallen out of favour in recent weeks and has been an unused substitute in the last five games.

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Even so, having a player of the midfielder’s quality in the squad and on the bench is important for Jokanovic in what is a long and congested season in the second tier.

His departure would be a blow and may leave the United boss keen to take action in the January transfer window to replace him.

But that may well be unnecessary as in Luke Freeman, Jokanovic has a forward-thinking midfielder capable to change games at Championship level already.

Some Blades fans may be rolling their eyes at that comment and that’s understandable given his struggles since making the move to Bramall Lane but this is a player that has dazzled in the second tier previously.

He bagged a combined 13 goals and 19 assists for QPR in the 2017/18 and 2018/2019 Championship seasons and Hourihane’s departure may give him the opportunity to try and rediscover that form.

The 30-year-old’s departure could prove a blessing in disguise if Freeman can get back to near his best.

Before Jokanovic looks to draft in a replacement from the transfer market, he should look close to home.

London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Sheffield United may have replacement in-house should Aston Villa, Norwich City deal go ahead: Opinion

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