Aston Villa transfer news: 150-game servant could leave in January transfer window

Aston Villa's Conor Hourihane is subbed on for Douglas Luiz

Aston Villa are considering letting Conor Hourihane leave this month, according to Football Insider.

The Ireland international has made 150 appearances for the Villans since signing from Barnsley in January 2017.

But four years on from his arrival, it looks as though the midfielder's time at Villa Park is now edging towards an unspectacular end. 

According to Football Insider, Villa are weighing up whether to let Hourihane leave before the January transfer window slams shut. 

It's said a loan deal is most likely but if it's until the end of the season, Hourihane will return to his parent club in the summer with just a year remaining on his contract.

That's usually when clubs decide to sell players before risking losing them for free. 

No potential suitors are mentioned for Hourihane, but with experience in all of English football's top four divisions on his CV, it would be surprising if clubs from the low end of the Premier League and the top half of the Championship weren't interested in his services. 

GIVEMESPORT's Christy Malyan says...

Two seasons ago, Hourihane was about as important as any other player at Villa Park, perhaps with the exceptions of Jack Grealish and John McGinn. 

He was the third man operating alongside them in midfield and contributed eight goals and eleven assists as Dean Smith's side secured promotion through the playoffs.

But Villa's progression towards being a top-half Premier League club has sadly left him behind, in large part due to the club's aggressive recruitment during recent transfer windows. 

Marvelous Nakamba, Douglas Luiz and Ross Barkley have all arrived to intensify the level of competition in central midfield, while winger Bertrand Traore's made the battle for engine room spots even tougher and youngster Jacob Ramsey is breaking through now as well. 

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Unfortunately for Hourihane, Luiz, Barkley and Traore are all younger, higher-quality players who've spent time at some of the Premier League's top clubs, and have ultimately squeezed him out of the first-team picture. 

The 29-year-old managed to make 18 Premier League starts last season but this term he's been limited to just four, and Football Insider's report on his future is indicative of his slide down the pecking order.

Even if he doesn't end up leaving Villa Park this month, his role in the squad has significantly diminished and his contract is winding down - so an exit before next season feels largely inevitable whether it's in January or the summer.

Villa fans will be sad to see him leave but the cold, hard truth is that Villa have upgraded in Hourihane's position and their league standing is much better for it. 

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