The deadlock between Aston Villa and Bournemouth over Tyrone Mings was finally broken, as the key player to Villa’s promotion success last season, signed on a permanent contract. While the transfer was always likely, the fee was always going to be the sticking point with Bournemouth in a position to take advantage of Villa’s eagerness to sign the player. The final fee is still causing conjecture amongst the main media outlets, with figures of £20m to £26.5m being quoted.
It’s something of a throwback to the signing of Darren Bent, whom seemed to have several different transfer fees attached to his name by the press. At least the Mings deal wasn’t done in Euros to further complicate reporting on it.
The reality is that the higher end transfer fee quotes will no doubt be the total package, once sizeable add-ons are made, related to appearances and perhaps England caps.
“An undisclosed amount” with add-ons was always going to be the official line for the deal.
Cherry on Top
Obviously, it’s perhaps in Bournemouth’s interests to leak the total package number, so that their fans will consider it fantastic business for the club (and Ming’s agent). Indeed, they announced it on their own website as “Mings Leaves Club in Record Deal”.
Whatever the final figure of the initial fee, it’ll certainly be north of the £15m that Villa were originally slated to pay and there’s no doubt that the Cherries will have comfortably more than doubled the £8m fee they paid Ipswich to buy Mings in the first place, when he became their first signing as a Premier League club.
Considering the 26-year-old centre-back only made 17 league appearances for Bournemouth in four seasons, it’s excellent business for the Cherries. They wouldn’t have believed it possible, if you told them back in January, how much they’d make by selling their fringe defender seven months later.
The Mings negotiations were always going to be tough for Villa CEO Christian Purslow to bag a favourable deal. Despite the existence of a matching fee clause, the reality was no other team would likely go out on such a limb to match any inflated fee Bournemouth would set as an asking price.
The upshot was it was like a straight-up club-to-club chess game over the price. Bournemouth had the better pieces in play and despite Villa’s disadvantage, if they were unlikely to win financially speaking, they were looking to at least enforce a draw in terms of being content with the final deal.
Bournemouth are now a settled Premier League club turning an annual profit, so they were in a solid position to dictate terms to Villa in the negotiations. While Mings was down the pecking order at the Cherries, they were in no rush to sell him and knew there was a sizeable profit to be made from a team that was so keen on Mings’ services, after the bond the player forged with Villa during their Wembley adventure of last season.
In truth, Villa were in a position to let the situation marinate throughout July. Potentially the price would have dropped, but other factors tipped the balance in terms of it being advantageous to make it a done deal ASAP.
Villa were no doubt keen to get the deal over the line before the club’s kit launch this week, as Mings’ signing would generate an immense feel good factor to help boast the initial shirt sales. It was inevitable that in the announcement picture of Mings, he’d be wearing the new Villa shirt for its first official disclosure.
Also, since Villa only really have Kortney Hause and James Chester at centre-back, when it comes to pre-season training, it would be in Smith’s interest to have at least one guaranteed starting centre-back at his disposal. Especially as he’s integrating in new full-backs on both flanks – since it’ll be key to have the back four functioning as a unit from the off.
As Smith said himself, Mings is central to his plans for the season ahead.
“I think everybody could see the connection that he made with the club as a whole and it is excellent news that we can continue the relationship in the Premier League,” said Smith on Mings signing permanently.
“He will be an integral part of the squad for the new season and I look forward to working with him and helping to further develop his game.”
Mings had been previously vocal about wanting to return to Villa to carry on learning from John Terry, one of the finest Premier League centre-backs in his playing days. Terry extending his contract as a coach earlier this summer would have pretty much cemented in Mings’ mind that it was a no-brainer coming to Villa Park.
So Villa can perhaps be forgiven for not wanting to wait it out any longer in terms of haggling with Bournemouth to try and save a million or two. When you consider that Mings played a massive part in winning the club promotion and gaining access to a £180m TV revenue bounty, then it’s easy to rationalise any eventual transfer fee paid for the player.
But What About His Injury Record?
The obvious concern about the transfer once the price headed north was Mings’ injury record. Almost symbolically, the last Villa fans saw of Mings on the pitch was him limping off in the final stages of the play-off final at Wembley.
With 17 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons before he came to Villa, in half-a-season at Villa, he made more appearances for Villa and played more minutes than he did during his entire time at the Cherries.
While Martin Laursen was a fan favourite at Villa, he only played 84 games for the club over five seasons and that simply would not be a good enough return in terms of the money spent on Mings.
However, in fairness, Laursen’s on-going injury issues were known when Villa signed him, it was why Villa could sign him. They took the gamble, after all, if he was guaranteed to play the majority of a season, AC Milan would have never let him go.
In Mings case, a serious knee injury ruled him out for near on 16 mouths, a huge chunk of his time at Dean Court. But he hasn’t suffered any knee-related injuries since. It’s not an on-going issue. His other substantial injury was an unrelated back issue, that ruled him out for seven months.
So, you could say, his injuries have been more of a coincidence than any serial affliction.
As long as the transfer fee involves includes some back-ending in terms of appearance add-ons, than Villa will be able to sleep easier and be hopeful of a good return on their investment.
That said, MOMS has seen a little bit of the Nathan Baker’s about him at times, highlighted by the last-ditch tackle at Wembley, that saw him leave the field of play at a key moment. You could argue that if he made that tackle with his other leg, which was the more natural thing to do, then he would have been ok.
As his two infamous stamps perhaps also demonstrate, there’s some fine tuning to be done, but this is something that will no doubt be ironed out with more game time. Let’s not forget the fact, he’s spent over two years worth of what should have been his formative years as a player, on the sidelines.
Road to Class
It would be remiss not to consider Mings a potentially top class operator at the back for Villa. Villa supporters are quick to appreciate a very good centre-back, we’ve seen a few over recent decades from Evans and McNaught to the likes of McGrath, Mellberg and Laursen. When you consider the best of what Villa supporters witnessed when Mings helped turn Villa’s fortunes around last season, it’s plain to see we have potentially a player that will lead and define Villa’s defence for the next few seasons.
He’s already demonstrated his importance in being the vocal organiser of the back four, who leads by example. There’s no doubt in MOMS mind that this coming season he should be the vice captain to Jack Grealish too.
How good can Mings get?
If Axel Tuanzebe doesn’t end up back at Villa Park on loan, then there’s a very good chance last season was a dress rehearsal for Tuanzebe and Mings as a future England centre-back partnership.
Mings is very much a gem that hadn’t had chance to shine until he came to Villa Park. While MOMS isn’t normally one for hyperbole, Mings may end up being priceless.
UTVBecome a Patron!