Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings: Even I was surprised by my £20million fee
Tyrone Mings has revealed even he was surprised by the size of the fee which brought him to Villa during the summer transfer window.
The 26-year-old defender moved from Bournemouth for an initial £20million, rising to a possible £26.5million dependant on add-ons.
It was a figure which raised eyebrows among some observers at the time and Mings admits he was among them.
“Was I surprised by the figures? Yes, I was,” he says. “I knew Bournemouth wanted the money back for players they had signed, so I thought the figure would have been about £15m or £16m.
“Everyone would have looked at that and said: ‘That’s probably a good deal’.
“Then it went up to whatever it went up to in the end and people were looking at it thinking: ‘I don’t know whether we have had our pants pulled down here!’”
Just four Premier League matches and one England call-up later and there can surely be no-one who thinks Villa had their pants pulled down.
Dean Smith's team might have lost three of their first four matches but Mings has continued the form which made him a hero of the club’s charge to promotion through the play-offs last season, to the extent £20million already looks like something of a bargain.
His international call continued a remarkable nine months since first arriving in B6 on loan from the Cherries in January.
A career which had stalled on the south coast due to injury and the form of others is suddenly alive with promise again.
“Before Christmas I was playing in the under-23s games, the Premier League Cup,” he recalls.
“I think the biggest lesson I can take out of it - and hindsight is a wonderful thing - is that no matter how trapped, or out of control you feel your current situation is, there’s always another path you can take. At the time, I couldn’t see that path.
“I knew that coming to Villa, things had to go well, because my career was in danger of slipping away.
“I’d been out of the spotlight for so long that I needed a run of games to show people what I could do.
“If you’d told me when I was driving up from Bournemouth to Villa in January, that everything would happen that has happened in this last nine months, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.”
Few loan periods can ever have gone better, for club or player, than the one Mings experienced at Villa last season.
It is a big reason why the fee which brought him to the club permanently, though substantial, has not weighed heavy on his shoulders. Mings does not feel as though he has to prove anyone wrong.
“I feel anyone whose opinion really counts is inside this building,” he says. “I don’t think there was anyone at Villa, with the impact I had last year, that thought it was a rip-off.
“It might have been higher than they wanted to pay but I think the most important thing was keeping the majority of the group we had together from last year.
“It is supply and demand. There is only one of me and I felt like I could come back here and make a positive impact and the manager thought that as well.
“But then you do look at some of the prices centre-backs went for and those that were quoted. I think it was about right!”
Villa were not the only club keen to take him on loan but Mings explained: “I had to choose a place to go that would fit me.
|”When I went to Bournemouth it was a good fit and a good time for me because the club were knew to the Premier League and we could go and achieve our goals together.
“Villa was probably similar, we had both had a bad few years and we both probably knew where we wanted to get back to.
“Why not try and do it together? I never saw going out on loan as a negative. I needed it as my career was kind of drifting away.”
Mings was an unused substitute during England’s Euro 2020 qualifying wins over Bulgaria and Kosovo and claims a first taste of the national set-up has created a “burning desire” to make sure he is part of Gareth Southgate’s long-term plans.
To achieve that, he knows he must keep performing for Villa, starting with Monday night’s visit of West Ham.
Smith’s men are looking to rebound from a controversial 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace prior to the international break.
Performances, for a club which overhauled its playing staff following promotion, have delivered more promise than points but Mings, one of 12 summer signings, is confident they are on the right track.
“We have a core of people here who know the culture and how we play,” he said. “That is for everyone else to buy into and the rest of us to help them buy into and settle into as soon as possible.
“When I came here in January and the results weren’t great for the first four games, if you had said to me then, when will things change, I wouldn’t have known then either.
“I am hoping it is sooner rather than later. We have enough in hard work at the moment and enough in ability that it should not be too far away.”