CONFIRMED: Conor Hourihane joins Aston Villa from Barnsley
Conor Hourihane has followed James Bree to Aston Villa.
In this morning's press conference, head coach Paul Heckingbottom said he was preparing for this weekend's fixture against Rotherham United without Hourihane in his plans.
It has now been confirmed that the Irish central midfielder has put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half-year deal at Villa Park, with the player pocketing £28,000-a-week at his new club.
Hourihane, who left for an undisclosed fee, was hugely influential during his time at Oakwell.
As captain he always led from the front, especially as the Reds came back from the brink of relegation to being promoted through the play-offs last term.
And his class showed in the second tier, as he was the most creative midfielder in the league with 11 assists and six goals - the last of those goals coming by way of a parting shot at the weekend against Leeds United.
Hourihane was another whose contract expired at the end of the season, and talks of a new deal at Oakwell were put to one side last month.
The vultures were circling for the Reds' talisman and Villa warded off interest from a number of other clubs to snap up the player.
Yesterday, the club brought in Matty James from Leicester City - on loan - as a short-term replacement for the departing Hourihane.
Heckingbottom has now lost three core players - star striker Sam Winnall, Bree and Hourihane - from his play-off chasing squad.
“Fans need to trust in what the Club has done,” he said. “We’ve done that before [lost players]. If we told the fans that ten of our promoted squad weren’t going to be here in four months time, they would have gone barmy, but now we are even higher up the league and that’s just the way it is. We had it when Alfie Mawson left, how do we replace him? We brought in Angus MacDonald and Adam Jackson.
“How are we going to score goals now Sam Winnall has left? We just scored three against Leeds and won a massive derby match, to go back up to eighth.
"We will get this for every player that happens to leave and I understand that because the fans love and idolise them, but it is time for them to get new heroes.”