By Graham Hill
TYRONE Mings feared Aston Villa ‘had their pants pulled down’ when they agreed to sign him in a deal worth £26.5million.
Even Villa boss Dean Smith admitted he ‘scoffed’ at the price – and Mings admits he thought he would leave Bournemouth for £10million LESS.
But Smith was determined to sign the defender after he helped Villa win promotion last season during a successful five month loan spell.
And now Mings, 26, reckons it was a fair price in a summer which saw £80million-rated Harry Maguire joined Manchester United in a world record deal for a defender.
Mings has underlined his potential with a rapid call up to the England squad.
But even he raised an eyebrow at the price that finally saw him move to Villa Park – an initial £20million plus £6.5million in add-ons.
Mings said ahead of Monday night’s clash with West Ham: “I was surprised.
“I knew Bournemouth wanted the money back for players they’d signed so I thought the figure would’ve been about £15-16million.
“Everyone would’ve 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’ve had our pants pulled down here!’
“I feel anyone whose opinion really counts is inside Villa.
“I don’t think there was anyone at the club with the impact I had last year, that thought it was a rip-off.
“It might’ve been higher than they wanted to pay but it’s supply and demand. There’s only one of me and I felt like I could come back here and make a positive impact – 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!
“I knew at some point it’d get done.
“I didn’t think the longer the club waited the cheaper it’d be. I didn’t think if they waited until deadline day they’d get me for £10million. That would’ve put everyone in a bad situation.”
“In the end Villa probably got the deal done at the best price and the best time as well.
“They’re just numbers at the end of the day. I just wanted to sign for Villa. The price doesn’t come out of my bank account.
“I knew it was a deal I wanted to get done and I knew Villa wanted it done and I knew Bournemouth wanted it done. Whatever price they settled at was for the money men to decide. It doesn’t weight heavy on me, no.”
But Mings admits that if his Villa loan had not worked out last season then his chances of being a Premier League defender could have been over because his injury record had lowered his profile.
He said: “I knew that coming to Villa, things had to go well, because my career was in danger of slipping away. It was me that suggested it.
“I’d been out of the spotlight for so long that I needed run of games.
“But 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.
“It’s been nine months since I came to Villa, before Christmas I was playing in the 23s, Premier League Cup, I think the biggest lesson I can take out 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, but at the time I couldn’t see that path.”
Mings did not get to play for England despite being included in the squad for the games with Bulgaria and Kosovo.
He said: “I didn’t walk away feeling disappointed, my over-riding feeling is one of pride but it sends me back here with a burning desire to get into the England team.”