By Graham Hill
IT is good to see that Villa have taken the first tentative steps to try and secure Tyrone Mings to the club for next season IF they are promoted.
Nothing cocky or over-confident about that, it makes sense to sound the player out to see if he would be open to a move to Villa Park.
I would guess the answer to that is a resounding ‘yes’.
But it would only happen if Villa were to beat Derby at Wembley next month to seal a return to the Premier League,
And it highlights the fact that there is so much than promotion riding on the Championship final.
Lose, and Villa can forget about signing Mings from Bournemouth.
Add to that the fact that they would lost Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Tammy Abraham – who will probably be back at Chelsea next season anyway.
Anwar El Ghazi is unlikely to stick around for another season in the Championship while Conor Hourihane will also have attracted some attention during Villa’s play-off charge.
Defeat would mean a total rebuild and having to stick within FFP regulations. It would not be pleasant but Smith clearly has a ‘Plan B’ if Villa must face a fourth successive season in the second tier.
But Villa will be favourites at Wembley and will already be drawing up a ‘Plan A’ if things go as they want them to.
Mings has made himself a fans’ favourite during his loan spell at Villa Park and it would surely suit everyone if he were to make his move permanent.
But as McGinn told Sky Sports after the semi-final win over West Brom on Tuesday: “I don’t know how he doesn’t get a game for Bournemouth!”
If talks are under way, that is great news. They will be abandoned if Villa fail to beat Frank Lampard’s side – but can get under way in earnest with a victory.
All of which raises the question of how much money Villa’s new owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are prepared to spend if they go up.
They bought the club with one eye on the Premier League – and you would like to think that enough cash would be available to make sure Villa stay there.
Sensibly, the new backers have not said where they intend to see Villa in five years’ time. Tony Xia’s vision of ‘European champions’ now looks more than a little premature.
But with the intention to make a play for Mings clear under way, the future looks bright. Just need Villa to win at Wembley now!