Given that there are defensive shake-ups afoot at Villa Park, it’s perhaps no surprise that we now begin to see stories linking players elsewhere.
The latest is a eyebrow raising rumour linking current club captain Tyrone Mings with a switch to Eddie Howe’s Newcastle.
Villa struggled to keep a settled back-line last term, in part due to injuries but also the loss of form of previously steady figures. Matt Targett was sent packing, ironically to St James Park, after a string of sub-par displays. Ezri Konsa struggled too, with indifferent form seeing Callum Chambers begin to emerge as a preferred option.
Mings was a near ever present, and although few could fault the centre-halfs commitment, was undeniably guilty of occasional lapses of judgement. He is though a fierce and determind competitor and Mings contributed any number of blocks and interceptions, most recently a fine last ditch tackle to prevent Burnley winning at the death and potentially keeping them up.
However, for all of the good points, Mings can frequently undo his hard work with poor decision making. The former Bournemouth man has an infuriating habit of winning the ball, before immediately hoofing it aimlessly upfield, gifting possession back to the opposition. There has also been the issue of poor clearances, the title winning 3rd goal for Manchester City fresh in the memory, as an example.
These observations remain a devisive point of debate amongst Villa fans too.
Perhaps as a sign of Mings’ personal dip in form and fortunes of late, he has now found himself dropped from Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the first time in three seasons.
After a 14th place finish, which stands in stark contrast to the stated club mantra of ‘continuous improvement’, Villa appear to be going all in once again this transfer window.
Shoring up the side defensively looks to be the priority. The signing of Boubacar Kamara is widely regarded as a coup, whilst Diego Carlos’ arrival from Sevilla brings direct competition at centre-half. Relegated Burnley defender James Tarkowski has also been strongly linked, but the free agent is now anticipated to go elsewhere, most likely Everton.
Newcastle are known to be in the market for a central defender and were admirers of Diego Carlos in the January 2022 transfer window, seeing bids rejected for the Brazil international.
It has been reported and widely re-circulated that Newcastle would be interested in Mings, with a potential fee of £30m cited. Whilst there has been significant chatter, there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of concrete information and it’s certainly to be considered a rumour at best at this point.
There are some interesting angles to this story though, not least that Steven Gerrard’s close season re-shuffle appears far from concluded.
Mings does have a connection to current Newcastle boss Eddie Howe, having worked under him during his time with Bournemouth. However, after an injury plagued period and a successful loan to whilst we were in The Championship, Mings was sold by Howe to Villa for £26m. It remains to be seen whether there is any substance in the pair being reunited.