Nottingham Forest managed to add 12 new faces to their dressing room prior to the start of the 2019/20 campaign. The club’s business was carried out meticulously and already Sabri Lamouchi is reaping the rewards on the pitch.

Recruitment hasn’t always been a straight forward situation at the City Ground, however. Former boss Martin O’Neill discovered just that back in January.

Forest were desperately short of central defenders when the Northern Irishman arrived on Trentside. Michael Dawson, Tobias Figueiredo and Michael Hefele were all injured, leaving O’Neill with a conundrum of sorts.

One man who he very nearly did sign was Tyrone Mings. According to the Bournemouth Echo, a loan fee was agreed between Forest and Bournemouth ahead of a move to the City Ground.

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Mings was on £25,000-a-week (Spotrac) at the Vitality Stadium and he wouldn’t have come cheap. Forest were still in the hunt for the play-offs when the reports emerged, however, and last season could have gone so much differently.

The 26-year-old instead signed for Aston Villa, with Forest unable to get a deal over the line. His resolute defending saw Dean Smith’s team go on a remarkable run of 10 successive wins, which eventually led them to promotion via the play-offs.

Villa made the move a permanent one in the summer, signing Mings for £26.5 million (The Guardian). Last night a remarkable ten months was capped when he collected his first cap for England; playing the full 90 minutes in a 6-0 win over Bulgaria.

Given the meteoric rise of his stock since his loan spell at Villa Park commenced, it has to be said that missing out on Mings was a real clanger from Forest’s perspective.

Natural leader

His leadership qualities picked Villa off the canvas last season and there is a real sense that had O’Neill been able to prise him away from Bournemouth ahead of the Villains, he could have had the same effect on the Forest team.

Smith’s team, in general, was full of quality. There is no saying Mings would have led Forest to promotion but he certainly might have helped keep the supporters away from O’Neill’s door on what felt like a weekly basis.

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The Reds landed unknown quantities Alex Milosevic and Molla Wague; with Yohan Benalouane joining from Leicester. All three had their moments, but it perhaps speaks volumes that with everyone fit and Joe Worrall back from his Rangers sabbatical, Milosevic hasn’t yet been in a Championship squad this season.

The Villa star has quickly become one of England’s brightest defensive prospects. It must be nice for Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate to have a natural left-footer to call upon at the heart of the back four.

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He looks like a born leader and with his injury problems seemingly behind him he looks like being a big player for England ahead of Euro 2020.

Forest failing to sign Mings looks like a real missed opportunity and even now, O’Neill must be wondering what might have been had he stolen a march on Villa and taken the centre-back to the City Ground.

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