Aston Villa and Southampton announced on Wednesday that the two Premier League clubs have agreed a transfer fee, reportedly $41 million, for striker Danny Ings.
Ings, 29, has just one year remaining on his current contract at Southampton and negotiations toward a new deal were previously fruitless, leading much of the outside world to believe that a summer departure would bring to an end Ings’ time at St. Mary’s Stadium. That does, indeed, appear to be the case.
Ings signing a win for Aston Villa
As far as Aston Villa are concerned, it’s best to strike while the iron is hot. Having already signed attackers Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen, respectively, for a combined $90 million, Aston Villa are operating in a very proactive manner ahead of the expected departure of Jack Grealish to Manchester City for $140 million. And now, Ings. Effectively, Aston Villa will have turned one superstar talent into three full-time starters before Grealish has even left the club.
Danny Ings himself will be delighted with the move as well, as he not only secures the final substantial contract of his playing career, but he now has the chance to compete for European qualification after Aston Villa hugely outperformed expectations in their first few seasons back in the Premier League.
Something to keep an eye on: Don’t be surprised if Ings’ arrival means a good few games out on the left wing for Ollie Watkins. He started 37 games (14 goals, 5 assists) as the center forward last season, but he’s quite versatile and might turn out to be a bit redundant if played alongside Ings in a 4-4-2 (they both love to run in behind the defense and neither player is lauded for their hold-up play). Watkins has immense dribbling ability, quick acceleration and change of direction, and a heavy shot from distance, which could make him devastatingly dangerous on counter-attacks down the left flank where Grealish will no longer be patrolling and orchestrating.
Ings sale a win for Southampton
As for Southampton, simply seeing a bit of money in the club’s accounts is a welcome sight. Ings’ departure was a foregone conclusion going back well into last season, but now Saints must move quickly (and wisely) to reinvest and strengthen after a 15th-place finish.
Obviously a striker is now required to replace some of Ings’ 12 goals a year ago (41 in three seasons back at Southampton, where he began his career in the academy before moving on at age 15), as are reinforcements along the backline (particularly out wide) and in central midfield.