Derby County: Conor Hourihane, James Chester and David McGoldrick signed by rebuilding Rams

Conor Hourihane and Wales defender James Chester in action for Aston Villa
Conor Hourihane and James Chester previously played together at Aston Villa

Derby County have bolstered their squad with the triple signing of midfielder Conor Hourihane, defender James Chester and striker David McGoldrick.

Republic of Ireland international Hourihane, 31, arrives on a two-year deal after he was released by Aston Villa at the end of June.

Chester, 33, joins on a one-year deal after being let go by Stoke City.

McGoldrick, 34, has also signed a one-year contract following his departure from Sheffield United.

Hourihane's move to Pride Park comes three years after he started for Villa in their Championship play-off final win against Derby which sent them back to the Premier League in 2019.

The former Barnsley captain said he was looking for "something that was going to excite me" after his five years with Villa came to an end earlier in the summer.

"Fortunately enough for myself, I have played all the way up from League Two to the Premier League so analysing it this summer as a free agent, I was thinking what do I want next and what do I want to achieve and be part of," he told the club website.external-link

"Derby ticked all the boxes.

"Everyone knows the difficulties here over the last couple of years but it's a fresh start, new takeover and the excitement is here and that's why I'm here and want to be a part of it."

Hourihane spent last season in the Championship with Sheffield United on loan, having also spent the much of the previous campaign on loan in the second division with Swansea.

The central midfielder will now play in League One for the first time in six years, having played a pivotal role in getting Barnsley promoted from England's third tier in 2016.

Wales international Chester, who played alongside Hourihane at Villa but did not feature against Derby in the play-off final win in 2019, spent two-and-a-half years with Stoke after initially joining the Potters on loan in January 2020.

The former Manchester United trainee, who also previously played for West Bromwich Albion and Hull City, featured 22 times for Stoke last season.

While at Hull, Chester played alongside Derby's interim boss Liam Rosenior.

"The opportunities in your careers to achieve something aren't there very often, so to have some responsibility to get this club back to the Championship where they deserve to be at the very minimum is another huge reason [to join the club]," Chester said.external-link

Republic of Ireland international McGoldrick added:external-link "I still feel as hungry and ambitious as ever and I know I can still play at the top level, but this is a big pull for me.

"There were other offers which were probably more lucrative but I just felt this was right. I'm local as well so it's good for me and my family and the whole project of the club and what the players have said about it, it's just perfect for me."

The arrival of the trio take the number of new arrivals at the rebuilding Rams, who were last week taken out of administration after nine months by new owner David Clowes, to six.

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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