Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan says the club should look to sign Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings in the summer transfer window, if they win promotion to the Premier League this season.
Leeds look well set to win that promotion before the campaign is out, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side currently top of the Championship table, seven points clear of third-placed Fulham, with nine games of the season still to be played at some point.
But with Brighton loanee Ben White supposedly attracting interest from a number of other top-flight clubs, Whelan believes the Yorkshire side should be looking at Mings as a potential replacement for the 22-year-old centre back.
Having helped Villa win promotion to the Premier League last season while on loan from Bournemouth, Mings made his move to Villa Park permanent in the summer transfer window, but has been unable to prevent Dean Smith’s side from slipping to 19th in the current top-flight standings, something Whelan believes Leeds can take advantage of.
Asked whether signing a centre back ought to be a priority for the Elland Road club in the summer, Whelan told Football Insider: “The spine of a side is so important. Look at how important Virgil Van Dijk has been and Vincent Kompany over the past few years.
“Mings is a fantastic player and a great buy. I would have snapped him up after the way he played last season.
“He got his England cap as well so it goes to show he is a very good centre-half. He has every attribute you would like – decent on the ball, strong, committed, good stature and very quick as well.”
Discussing the interest there may be in Mings come the summer, and the amount it could cost Leeds to sign him, Whelan continued: “He is a player that is only going to get better but if Aston Villa go down he will be in demand by other Premier League clubs.
“There may be a clause in his contract but I would presume Aston Villa will want more than £30million.”
In total, Mings has made 44 appearances in all competitions for Villa, who reportedly paid Bournemouth £26.5million to make his move permanent last summer.
I do think this is something worth considering for Leeds.
If White does indeed move elsewhere in the summer, then there is no doubt they will have to replace him, when you consider just how important he has been to their cause this season.
When you look at the performances that Mings has put in for a struggling Villa side in the current campaign, it does seem as though he is someone who would be capable of filling that role for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
However, Villa will not want to let one of their key assets go easily, and given there could also be other clubs interested in securing his signature, this may still not be an easy deal for Leeds to complete, regardless of what happens with White.