Sheffield Wednesday are considering entering the race to sign Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane - having already raided their South Yorkshire rivals for striker Sam Winnall.
The Owls, who entertain fourth-placed Huddersfield Town tomorrow, want to strengthen their midfield department following Kieran Lee’s injury setback.
And The Star understands Hourihane is on Wednesday’s radar following a stellar season with the Reds.
The 25-year-old has been an instrumental figure in Barnsley’s surprise run into the top eight of the Championship, scoring five goals, including a spectacular winner at Nottingham Forest last week.
Hourihane’s contract runs out at the end of the season and the Owls are likely to face strong competition should they decide to make a move for the Irishman. Aston Villa are thought to be monitoring Hourihane’s situation closely and Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers are also big admirers of his abilities.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s persistence paid off with Winnall, who is set to become their third January addition today. After having one bid rejected for the 25-year-old, the Owls tabled an improved offer that met Barnsley’s valuation. The two clubs agreed on a fee, thought to be in the region of £500,000 plus add-ons should Wednesday secure promotion to the Premier League.
Winnall, whose Reds deal was due to expire in the summer, passed a medical on Wednesday night and is understood to have penned a three-and-a-half-year contract.
Winnall, named the Championship player of the month for December after scoring six goals in as many matches, has found the back of the net on 11 occasions in 23 outings this season.
At his press briefing yesterday, Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal refused to comment on Winnall, insisting “he’s not our player at the moment”, but is happy with their transfer business so far.
“We have tried to do our best, find the players which we believe we need,” said Carvalhal. “But at the same time, we are open to the market and opportunities.
“We are not a poor club, but we are not a club either who says ‘I want this player’ and we buy him.
“The management of the chairman is doing very well, because he cares very much about Financial Fair Play (FFP), which we must follow.
“If you don’t adhere to FFP and get three or four players of high standard, take a risk, and get promoted that’s okay.
“But if you don’t get promoted, then maybe the club will have a big problem the next season. That’s not our way.”