The Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield expects Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane to leave the club next summer.
The 30-cap international has been on Villa's books since 2017 after joining from Barnsley, but Hatfield feels that his days at the Midlands club are numbered.
What's the latest news involving Hourihane?
Indeed, when Dean Smith took charge of the team in 2018, Hourihane seemed to be one of the first names on the teamsheet, as he played a crucial role in helping the Villans secure promotion back to the Premier League. Overall, he has featured in 151 games for the side, scoring 29 times.
However, the 30-year-old has fallen out of favour over the last 12 months, which led to him being loaned out to Swansea in January, and then again to Sheffield United this summer.
He is out of contract in 2022, and it appears that he may have played his last game for Smith's men.
What has Hatfield said about Hourihane?
With Hourihane currently plying his trade in the Championship, Hatfield seems to think that he will struggle to force his way back into Villa's plans. He has hinted that it is unlikely that the central midfielder will be offered a contract extension.
Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “With someone like Hourihane, no disrespect to him, I don’t think Villa were expecting him to be sticking around.
“He’s out on loan again at Sheffield United at the moment, and when his contract runs out, I imagine it will be a fond farewell from Villa for him.”
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Does Hourihane have any chance of a future at Villa?
Right now, his chances are slim.
Smith already has John McGinn and Douglas Luiz to call upon, who go straight into the team whenever they are available.
Furthermore, exciting prospects are starting to come through the club's academy in the middle of the park. Jacob Ramsey is now getting regular game time in the top-flight, and there are high hopes for 18-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka.
Meanwhile, Hourihane is currently only on the fringes of the team at Sheffield United, and has been unable to show that he deserves more opportunities at Villa.
If he can turn things around and start to play a major role at Bramall Lane, this could convince Villa to hand him a new short-term deal. Yet, at the moment, that scenario appears unlikely, and he will probably be looking for a new club next year.
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