Barnsley pair Conor Hourihane and James Bree will be Aston Villa players in the next 72 hours, barring the unforeseen. Both should be expected to provide immediate upgrades to Steve Bruce’s side.
Conor Hourihane, fresh off scoring this wondrous free kick at the weekend, will sign for Aston Villa at a cut rate deal of around £3 million.
Hourihane is a silky smooth operator in central midfield. At 25 years of age, he is exactly the type of player Aston Villa should be acquiring – a player entering his peak age of footballing who will provide quality value for every pound spent.
Hourihane, as is the case with James Bree, is out of contract in the summer meaning Villa are buying at a discounted price.
With how terrible the midfield has been all season, Hourihane can link-up with Henri Lansbury to provide more punch and firepower to the center of the pitch. The former especially can link play between the midfield and the attack.
Hourihane’s renaissance from League One to Championship play this season earned him a call-up to the Ireland National Team last September. However, he has yet to make his senior international debut.
Not to be left behind, 19-year old teammate James Bree will also be moving to Aston Villa! This one comes straight from the owner.
Bree is a 5’11” right back who was being chased by numerous Premier League clubs. By default, he should be an improvement over Alan Hutton. Reports from the Birmingham Mail suggest a similar £3 million settlement for the out-of-contract defender.
Even at a tender young footballing age of 19, Bree has 58 first team appearances with Barnsley. He is an established player who could move swiftly through the ranks at Aston Villa.
Unlike other Villa transfer moves, this one has an eye on the future as promotion looks more bleakly every week.
Bree may not be Carl Jenkinson right now, but he could be Carl Jenkinson-like in 1-2 years time.
Both moves display Aston Villa’s power in England, should they be completed.
Aston Villa would have transferred in Nottingham Forest’s captain and Barnsley’s captain in successive weeks.