Aston Villa to make bid for assist king after Bruce scouting mission - report
By Dominic Toner
Aston Villa are planning a bid for Barnsley midfielder Conor Hourihane, according to a report.
Football website HITC claim that the Midlands giants are preparing a move for the 25-year-old after manager Steve Bruce made a final assessment of him at the weekend.
The report details that Scottish duo Celtic and Rangers have been credited with an interest for the central midfielder, but Villa are hopeful of beating them to his signature.
Hourihane’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he has failed to agree a new deal at Oakwell so far.
The midfielder has been in immaculate form this season for Barnsley and has supplied a remarkable 12 assists in 25 appearances.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
He has also chipped in with five goals and has been one of the standout players in the Championship so far.
Hourihane helped Barnsley achieve promotion from League One last season via the play-offs and was a key player, scoring 11 goals and supplying 17 assists in 53 appearances.
The midfielder has now emerged as a transfer target for Villa and Bruce is hopeful that he can help their promotion bid.
Football Insider verdict:
Villa should certainly try and complete the signing of Hourihane this January as he could propel them into the play-off spots. Bruce’s side are still in with a change of making the top six, but desperately need to improve their form in front of goal. The Midlands side have been strong defensively this campaign, but their weaknesses are certainly in attack. They are crying out for a playmaker to dictate the play and that is exactly what the Barnsley man can add. Hourihane has proven already this season that he is lethal in the Championship and would be a good fit for Villa. The 25-year-old would add some vital goals from midfield and will also link-up play well with the attackers.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club are second favourites to sign an ex-player after a reported interest from Bruce.