"Exciting" - Conor Hourihane's first words as a Sheffield United player after loan from Aston Villa is finalised
Conor Hourihane says he has joined an “exciting” club in Sheffield United after completing his loan move to Bramall Lane from Aston Villa.
The former Barnsley midfielder has become Slavisa Jokanović’s second signing as Blades boss, after undergoing a medical on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Hourihane was identified as a target for Jokanovic earlier this summer, but it took until the day before the deadline to get the move over the line.
The midfielder helped Swansea to the play-off final last season after joining the Swans on loan in January, and is out of contract at Villa Park at the end of this current campaign.
"I'm delighted to be here and cannot wait to get started,” Hourihane said.
"I've played against Sheffield United a few times and it is an exciting club to be involved in.
"The manager here has a great reputation in the Championship, his Fulham team beat us in a play-off final a couple of years ago and I'm looking forward to working with him."
Hourihane captained Villa in their 6-0 League Cup win over Barrow last week – his only competitive football this season – and Villa boss Dean Smith hinted that he would be allowed to leave if the right offer arrived for club and player.
"I think we saw last January that Conor wants to be playing football so, if there is an option there that suits both parties, then we will look at that,” Smith said.
“If there is not then Conor knows I am more than happy to have him in our squad, because I think an awful lot of him. He captained the team on Tuesday night and played really well.”
Smith previously admitted that he didn’t want Hourihane to leave and join Swansea last season, but the player himself expressed a desire to play games after appearing just four times in the Premier League before January.
Hourihane helped Villa into the Premier League during his time in the second city, and also came off the bench as Villa lost 2-1 to Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley last year.
The midfielder also knows John Egan, Enda Stevens and David McGoldrick from their time together with Ireland and also worked with United’s U23 coach Paul Heckingbottom during their time together at Barnsley.
"I know lads that are here, John Egan and Enda and David McGoldrick, and I've played here many times,” Hourihane, who will hope to win his latest international caps in their qualifiers against Azerbaijan, Portugal and Serbia over the break, added.
"The atmosphere, the fans, the stadium ... there can be a really good buzz here and hopefully we have that going forward.
"I've known John a long time, being from Cork; we've played together through the age groups growing up and I know Enda very well.
"I spoke to Didzy and Paul Heckingbottom, too. They all rave about the club, it's an exciting time and I can't wait to get going.
"The manager has got a great record in the Championship. I'm really looking forward to getting going after the international break and hitting the ground running.”