English defender Tyrone Mings is set to be announced as an Aston Villa player after the newly-promoted club splashed out over £20m to secure his signature. That may seem a lot of money for a player who failed to establish himself in the Premier League at Bournemouth but Mings showed during his loan spell at Villa that he has all the attributes to become a top-class centre-back.
This piece is not a criticism of Aston Villa or Tyrone Mings, who proved to be a match made in heaven as the two combined to deliver promotion in unlikely circumstances last term. However, Manchester United should have been in for the 26-year-old during this window as they hunt for a defender who is able to dominate, influence and restore calm to their back-line. Given that the asking price for fellow Englishman Harry Maguire is now £90m, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could have done a lot worse than spend a fraction of that outlay on Mings.
Mark my words, this time next year Tyrone Mings will have become one of the top centre-backs in the Premier League and be worth more than £40m.
His impression on the Villains last season was nothing short of sensational. He joined them in late January, with the club lying in tenth place in the Championship and with play-off hopes fading. There was one obvious reason why Dean Smith’s side were struggling and Mings was brought in to solve their defensive issues. At the time of his signing, only two Championship sides had conceded more than Aston Villa (46) in their opening 29 games.
Having sung his praises, it must be said that Mings did not resolve Villa’s problems immediately. In fact, they failed to win in his first five appearances, a run of results that saw them drop to 11th, eight points off the top six. Having said that performances had improved with him in the side and had become a hit with the Villa fans within his first month.
His pace, power and leadership abilities began to show as Villa put together a record-breaking run of wins that saw them storm into the play-offs. They won ten league games in a row for the first time in their history and in that time conceded just five goals, as their defence morphed from shaky to solid in a matter of months.
Mings dealt with the threat of Jay Rodriguez in the play-off semi-final before playing a crucial role as Villa gained redemption for their play-off final defeat at Wembley 12 months previous, and secured their place back amongst England’s footballing elite.
It isn’t just about last season however, Mings’ has developed from a powerful left-back into a dominant centre-half, a leader at the back and a defender who is almost impossible to beat. As a left-footed defender he often offers balance to the centre of defence and has the ability to bring the ball out from the back, given the attacking option he is used to providing on the left-hand side.
He also provides a serious threat from set pieces, scoring twice for Villa at the back end of the season. A 6ft 5in, he is difficult to mark in the box and like Maguire, often finds himself as the main target for corners and free-kicks. He is dominant in the air in both boxes and can handle himself capably against any physical or pacey striker, as he has strength in both of those areas.
To put it quite simply, as well as doing a load of brilliant work off the pitch, he is good enough to play for a top six side in the Premier League. Manchester United will rue not picking him up in twelve months and instead look set to spend over £70m to patch up their defence. This may sound bizarre at this moment in time, but Mings will prove to be a shrewd signing for Aston Villa.