Everton should have Swansea edge in pursuit of Championship’s top player
Tom Ince was the focus of much Premier League attention over the summer, but ended up remaining at Blackpool. But, now that he has six months remaining on his contract with the Championship club, vultures from bigger leagues are sure to be circling again.
Ince ended last season with 18 goals and 14 Championship assists (the most assists in the division), while this campaign he has either scored or assisted over half of Blackpool’s goals.
Here are five clubs below that are sure to be in the hunt to sign the England under-21 star, with an accompanying rating indicating the chances of a deal going through.
Everton (4 out of 5)
Speculation is that Everton do not want to pay a fee for Ince, but they would be willing to provide a lucrative package to the player in the summer when only compensation costs will be necessary, as a result of being out of contract, but under-23.
Roberto Martinez has already shown with Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman this season that he is prepared to place his faith in youth and an attacking midfield trio of Ince, Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu would be one with big future prospects.
Ince’s strengths are arguably in areas where Swansea have been found lacking in the Premier League this campaign, as Michael Laudrup’s wide players hardly shoot.
Nathan Dyer is the only one to average above one shot per game, while Ince’s average at Blackpool is almost three shots.
The speculation is that Swansea have tabled a £4m bid for the 21-year-old and talks are said to be underway between the two parties.
Crystal Palace (2/5)
Tony Pulis is chasing Ince and Everton’s Nikica Jelavic in the hope of bolstering Crystal Palace’s survival claims and there is little doubt that he will be one of the first names on the team sheet at Selhurst Park.
However, with Ince having waited for the right moment to take the leap into the Premier League, it has to be considered unlikely that he would choose a club with such obvious relegation claims.
Although Ince would improve Newcastle, he does not follow their typical transfer agenda and it seems that Remy Cabella is their number one midfield target from Montpellier.
With Blackpool also reportedly keen on Dan Gosling, the possibility of some type of swap deal between the two clubs could make it slightly more plausible.
Inter Milan (1/5)
A host of overseas clubs have also been linked with Ince in recent months, with French title hopefuls Monaco and Dutch giants Ajax among them.
However, with father Paul having previously played for Inter, this may make the Italians the favourites of those overseas.
FIFA cross-border rules additionally mean that Blackpool lose a lot of bargaining chips with foreign clubs.