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Midfielder offered deal after Celtic step up interest - report

By Emma Sanders

Conor Hourihane has been offered a new contract by Barnsley amid strong interest in the player led by Celtic, according to a report.

The Scottish Sun claims the 25-year-old has been offered a new deal by the Championship club in a last-ditch attempt to prevent him from quitting.

Houirhane’s current contract runs out next summer and Barnsley are keen for him to stay on given his terrific form so far this season.

“We can’t force his decision. Conor’s [Hourihane] been great for us, very consistent, and the aim is for him to become a regular in Ireland’s squad in 2017,” said Barnsley manager, Paul Heckingbottom.

The midfielder has been targeted by a number of clubs but Celtic are believed to be leading the race, though they face competition from Old Firm rivals Rangers.

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Aston Villa have also reportedly shown interest and Barnsley are hoping their latest contract offer will be enough for the skipper to pledge his extended future with the club.

However, the Irishman has already admitted the interest in him from Celtic and Rangers was flatering and he may be tempted with a move away, with his future at Barnsley yet to be confirmed.

“It’s always nice to hear when you’re linked with big club. It shows you’re doing things in the right way and people are taking notice,” said Hourihane.

So far this season, the midfielder has already made 20 appearances in the league, helping Barnsley climb to 12th place in the Championship table.

He’s netted four goals and as captain, is a crucial member of the first team.

Football Insider verdict:

Celtic have already had a busy fixtures schedule and Brendan Rodgers may be looking to add depth to his squad but he already has a number of top midfielders. Hourihane will be wanting a leading role so Rangers may be able to offer him a more regular first team place given Mark Warburton’s midfield injury woes. He’s make a great replacement for Nico Kranjcar and Jordan Rossiter so Celtic could face a battle to persuade him to join. He is doing well in the Championship though so may opt to extend his contract and that’s the most likeliest option.

In other Celtic news, this 28-year-old will not be at the club after this season.