The Athletic’s Gregg Evans has revealed that Birmingham City were hoping to sign Aston Villa man Conor Hourihane on transfer deadline day.
In the end, the experienced midfielder did leave the club on a season-long loan to Sheffield United. But Evans has now claimed that the Villans’ city rivals had hoped to beat the Blades to Hourihane’s signature.
Indeed, while talking about the matter on the 1874 podcast, Evans outlined Birmingham’s interest and explained why the deal ultimately did not come to pass.
He said: “Birmingham City tried to get him. They were interested in signing him.
“I don’t think he would have [joined them]. I don’t think he was interested in doing that move purely because of what happened with Jack [Grealish], with the punching incident and the history.
“I just couldn’t see him ever been a Birmingham City player, but they certainly wanted him.”
TIF Thoughts on Conor Hourihane and Aston Villa…
The Jack Grealish incident Evans refers to is when a Birmingham fan ran onto the pitch and hit Grealish during a derby match between the sides in 2019.
Hourihane started that game and his association with Villa was never going to make a switch to the club’s local rivals a likely probability.
However, with Dean Smith able to choose from a number of midfield options – such as Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Marvelous Nakamba, Carney Chukwuemeka and Jacob Ramsey – an exit always looked likely for Hourihane this summer.
Now at Sheffield United, the 30-year-old will hope to help the club fight for a return back into the Premier League after last season’s relegation disappointment.
He certainly has experience with that, having helped Villa win promotion back in 2019.