Midfield Makeover: Conor Hourihane cements radical change in heart of Villa team.

Conor Hourihane

Perhaps the most drawn out of our transfer window deals has concluded today, and not before time.

Despite rumoured last minute advances from the Premier League, Villa secured the services of Barnsley’s captain & star man.

This comes after weeks of speculation, bids and finally agreement after The Tykes secured a suitable replacement.

As remarkable as the lack of competition is the reported transfer fee of around £3.5 million pounds.  It has the potential to be a real snip.


Villa’s midfield options haven’t just been dreadful this season, it’s also been a real botch job for years now.

Central to this has been the repeated and blind perseverance with players who have either never developed or were never going to be good enough.

The appearance of names like Ashley Westwood, Leandro Bacuna & even Gary Gardner do little to raise the pulse ahead of kick off.  Indeed, they do little to prove you wrong during games either.

The club has been crying out for wholesale change for years, the midfield has sat as a festering, glaring problem.

It is finally undergoing refurbishment.


Whilst the business in the summer has come in for fair criticism, I do think that Jedinak and Tshibola improved us.

Given that even with this “improvement” [a term used loosely] we still sit in the bottom half of the Championship table now.  That tells a story of quite how poor we’d become.

Jedinak, despite a marauding presence, has struggled for form and stamina.

Tshibola remains a young raw talent, who with the right coaching and development may yet blossom.

However – the task at hand is about getting Villa out of The Championship.  Maybe not this season, but certainly next.

This isn’t going to be achieved with an ageing Aussie or a rookie from Reading.  Nor can it be left to chance.


The signing of Lansbury injects dynamism and guile into the centre of the pitch.  We immediately have a player capable of crossing a football from a set piece & someone able to pick a 60 yard crossfield pass.

Then take Birkir Bjarnason, the outstanding player at Euro 2016 for his country & experience at Champions League level.

It’s a far cry from the Tonev’s, Richardsons & Veretout’s.


Hourihane is the anti-Westwood.

He creates goals.  He can control the tempo of a football match.  He’s a proven leader.  And he scores goals.

These are attributes that our football club has been bereft of, not just singularly but as a woeful collective.

These are positive steps & one’s which our aspirations absolutely depend.


  • Barnsley Captain
  • Lead Tykes to League 1 Promotion last season
  • Most assists this season in Championship.
  • Most Man of The Match performances in division.
  • Most tackles in Championship this term.
  • 25 years old.
  • Irish international at youth level.
  • Named but never capped by Republic.
  • Sunderland academy product.
  • 225+ League Appearances.
  • Key to Barnsley; Assists.