Where’s Mings At?
The question of why Tyrone Mings isn’t already an Aston Villa player is one, that judging by social media, some Villa supporters are increasingly asking. Shouldn’t he had been Villa’s first bit of transfer business of the summer? So why isn’t he a Villa player already?
The answer is simple – he’s contractually a Bournemouth player.
Ok, that’s the obvious bit, but it’s important, as the Cherries are in pole position in terms of the player’s fate.
The 26-year-old centre back’s performances and the fever that Villa fans have built up around Mings has no doubt seen Bournemouth licking their lips at a potential transfer fee bonanza, after they had earlier considered him an injury-riddled squad player at the start of the year.
While Villa were safeguarded by an option to buy on the loan deals of Anwar El Ghazi and Kortney Hause, Mings carried a matching clause, where they could get the player if they equal any other leading bid…if they decided to match it.
If they elect to sell, Bournemouth will no doubt profit on the £8million they paid Ipswich for Mings, after they were in danger of seeing the player devalue due to his inactivity through injury.
When looking at the situation in the cold light of day, price-wise, perhaps the worst time for Villa to buy the player would be now. With the hype over Mings currently at fever pitch (judging by some of the inane local press articles), the player’s asking price will be at its highest.
Villa would be sensible in waiting and even being seen to walk away, by looking at other centre backs. On top of James Chester and Kortney Hause, Villa need two more anyway, so the best approach would probably be to view Mings as being one of their three top choices for two potential centre-back transfer berths.
Now with the matching clause they have, it should safe guard them against a bottom half Premier League team trying to secure Mings’ services. After all, after his journey with Villa so far, its obvious Villa would be his preference over them. Plus, Villa should be able to match any of their bids, if rational.
The Threats to His Services
The problem arises if a Premier League team with pedigree fancies the player.
Before you even look at the likes of the top six, Everton for example, after losing the likes of Phil Jagielka, Kurt Zouma and Ashley Williams, at the end of last season, could be interested. They’ll be desperate to get quality additions in their backline now and so they could be tempted to push the boat out for Mings, if he’s on their radar.
If one of the top six clubs suddenly fancy him. Mings may not be averse to the move as well, despite the love he’s shown for Villa. It would make sense in terms of wages and the prospect of European football and potential silverware.
However, the Mings deal is not a clear cut business for any club.
Why Villa have a chance over the top six clubs is the same reason they historically managed to bring in the likes of Ron Vlaar and Martin Laursen – the player’s injury record.
If the top club’s are going to pay top dollar, they want reinsurances that the player will actually be on the pitch for the majority of his stay. They won’t want to gamble.
At this stage, it’s unlikely any of the top six will make a move for Mings, considering he has only played over 20 league games in a season once in his career, when he played 40 games in the 2014-15 season for Ipswich.
In that respect, opportunity knocks for Villa to take a gamble to get a high calibre player, whom having viewed at close quarters last season, they’ll have an insight into his durability.
That said, the same issue that presents itself in a top six club’s mindset, also provides Villa with caution when it comes to splashing the cash.
The play-off final itself arose the question of Mings’ being injury-prone, when he had to be replaced by Hause in the later stages. The tackle that led to Mings injury was well-timed, but if he had led with his other leg when he made it, would he had suffered the same fate?
Remember how Nathan Baker played in a way that seemingly attracted injuries?
The Price is Right
After unconvincing performances in both the West Brom play-off games, when added to his injury record, Mings despite his popularity isn’t completely a ‘money no object’ kind of buy. Christian Purslow and co will be astuter than that.
Villa will not want to get burnt again on high-waged players that could potentially spend lengthy spells on the sidelines.
While signing Mings would give the club a big boost and help with carrying through the momentum of last season into the Premier League, the price must be right for Villa.
As any good negotiator knows, when you’re haggling for the best price, patience and a bit of bluff are needed.
Currently, the main threat to Villa not getting their man would be Bournemouth being stubborn in exercising greed in an unreasonable asking price, or Villa being outbid by a team Mings would consider playing for.
The player’s injury risk will potentially put off any team going in too hard early in the transfer window to meet whatever price Bournemouth are currently touting around.
It’s an intriguing equation in terms of the factors that make up the right time to buy Mings.
It’ll certainly take patience and more of a poker face than a begging Oliver Twist one.