Date: 19th February 2021 at 7:45pm
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Conor Hourihane’s relative merits as a player at Aston Villa have long been debated. What isn’t up for debate is the massive part he played in helping the club to turn its fortunes around and not only return to the Premier League, but also stay there and help lay the foundations for how we have kicked on during the 2020/21 campaign.

With game time severely limited this season, the 30-year-old only featured five times for head coach Dean Smith, and a loan move out to Swansea City was arranged back in January at the behest of Hourihane as he wanted to up his minutes even though Smith wanted him to stay.

His spell at The Liberty Stadium has been a massive success so far with three goals in six appearances and in a recent interview, it seems that Hourihane has simply come to the same conclusion that a lot of fans have – we’ve just moved on from what he can offer us.

Vital Villa’s Conor Hourihane Forum Thread

Speaking on the Irish Examiner’s A Footballer’s Life podcast, the Republic of Ireland international reflected on his time with us, his PL experiences and more importantly, his future.

“I never played in the Premier League until I got promoted with Villa so I always thought, ‘is the gap that big? But I would still say there is a big gap once you get promoted, look at Villa we spent over £100m when we got promoted and we barely stayed up. Let’s see what happens over the coming months. Villa is a fantastic club. I’ve been there four years — it’s such a fantastic club, great set-up, huge football club — but they’re moving on as well a little bit and going to a level where, maybe, the club feels is past my level; that’s their opinion so we’ll just see what happens come the summer.”

He added about his future.

“For me to get into the best place for the summer, I knew I had to get out on loan. I know this is the right thing for me — playing, playing well. Probably the position in the league they’re in, they’re up there, pushing for promotion. I spoke to the manager three or four times and it would have taken a good move and a bit of convincing to move. But speaking to him made my decision very easy. He was fantastic over the phone and has been fantastic since I arrived. I’ve definitely made the right choice.”

His form for Swansea would definitely have him on their shopping list for the summer, irrespective of whether or not they gain promotion, but equally, he’s in the shop window for other admirers so you would think it unlikely he would now return. Having come in for a snip £3.5million back in the 2016/17 campaign, we could well make our money back here as well which would be an added bonus.

Whatever happens, he’s one of the few players over the last decade that will leave with our thanks.

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