By Gabriel Agbonlahor

23rd Jul, 2021 | 7:00pm

Agbonlahor has the inside track on Hourihane quitting Aston Villa after West Brom reveal

Gabby Agbonlahor has claimed Conor Hourihane will want to stay and fight for his place in the Aston Villa starting XI next season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer delivered his verdict as two Championship clubs are reportedly keen on the midfielder.

The Athletic‘s Gregg Evans reported on 18 July both Sheffield United and West Bromich Albion are interested in Hourihane.

The 30-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan in the Championship with Swansea City.

He played 24 times for the Swans who ended the season as beaten play-off finalists.

Hourihane has now returned to Aston Villa training and featured in their opening pre-season game against Walsall earlier this week.

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Asked whether he thought Hourihane would want to leave Villa, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “Knowing Conor, he’s going to want to play at the highest level so he’s going to want to stay in the Premier League.

“I think he’s going to want to stay and fight for his position, put in some good performances in pre-season. Then he can see where he stands at the beginning of the season.

“But knowing him, he’s definitely going to want to stay and fight for his position and hopefully he can get a chance.”

Hourihane has played 150 times across all competitions for Aston Villa, including four Premier League games at the beginning of last season.

The Republic of Ireland international has just 12 months left to run on his contract with the Midlands giants.

In other news, Bayer Leverkusen have responded to a huge formal Aston Villa bid for Leon Bailey.