This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Terrace Talk’ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
The Republic of Ireland international, who has amassed 35 caps for his country, departed Premier League outfit Aston Villa following the expiry of his contract this summer, having spent last season on loan at Sheffield United in the Championship.
At the Blades, Hourihane appeared 30 times in all competitions, however only started in 14 league games as both Slavisa Jokanovic and Paul Heckingbottom tended to favour other options in the engine room.
Quiz: The celebrities that support Derby County – But how well do you know them?
Despite this, there was an expectation that a Championship club would pick the midfielder up this summer, with Huddersfield Town and Luton both linked.
However, it is the newly-resurgent Rams who have won the race for Hourihane’s services on a two-year deal, and FLW’s Derby fan pundit Jason Straw of the Rams Review podcast is fully on-board with his arrival,
“What an absolute fantastic signing this could prove to be for Derby,” Jason said.
“Three months ago he was at Aston Villa in the Premier League on big wages – Derby have somehow managed to get this one over the line, I think this is an absolute coup for Derby, what a player.
“He was a fantastic player in the Championship, probably could have easily continued in the Championship this season but he’s decided to come to the project at Derby.
“He is going to be I would say one of the best midfielders in the league, and that is a real plus-point for Derby, a great person to have.
“He’s what you’re going to need – he’s played at this level before when he was younger, he is almost a perfect signing for Derby, I can’t believe we’ve managed to get it over the line.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can bring to Derby, and hopefully a lot of good times.”
Hourihane would have been a great fit for most Championship clubs – so to take a drop into the third tier of English football is majorly surprising.
Whilst Derby are a big club and will have an obvious pull despite the level they’re playing at, capturing Hourihane was always going to be an ambitious one.
Somehow though, they’ve pulled it off, and the Rams will no doubt be the envy of League One right now.
Even though he’s now 31 years of age, Hourihane surely has another couple of years left in him at his current level, and whilst the signing at the end of the day will be judged at the end of the 2022-23 campaign, on paper it is a fantastic addition.