Room for Conor and Deadly Doug

By Graham Hill

IF anyone assumed Villa’s move for Manchester City midfielder Douglas Luiz meant Conor Hourihane being sidelined then think again.

Villa’s £15million move for Luiz emerged on Friday with boss Dean Smith looking to boost all areas of his squad ahead of the Premier League season.

With Kalvin Phillips proving difficult to prise away from Leeds, Luiz seemed to be the next option for Villa.

And that means the end of the road for Ireland international Hourihane? Wrong.

Villa announced on Saturday morning that the 28-year-old has signed a new contract.

Hourihane had an up and down season and was not always a fans favourite when Villa struggled last winter.

But he played a huge role in Villa’s jubilant end to the campaign which saw them win promotion.

Hourihane signed two and a half years ago when Steve Bruce was in charge at Villa.

And he told the club’s official website: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s exciting times for the club with us moving into the Premier League.

“I’ve waited all my career for the opportunity to play at this level and the time has now arrived.

“I’m really looking forward to the season ahead. It’s a big period for me personally as I’ve come all the way from League Two to reach the top.

“I’m glad to sign and look forward to being here for seasons ahead.”

But the arrival of the Brazil Under-23 captain will create more competition at Villa Park.
Luiz’s background is unusual in that he has never played for City and spent the past two seasons on loan at Girona in Italy where he has impressed.

And there are work permit issues to be resolved as he was not granted one last year.

Presumably Villa have been given assurances that will not be the case this time otherwise it would have been pointless even trying to sign the 21-year-old.

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