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Alright, we know clubs are interested and that he feels he is more than ready for another crack at the Premier League but is there any chance of Derby keeping Tom Ince?
Never say never, but is it even that important for the Rams? Yes, it probably is, as players of his class are hard to come by outside of the top flight. It was reported that Derby rate him at £10m but he is someone who is worthy than that. The fact that managers like Rafael Benitez are even this keen to get his services is a major hint in itself as to what level Ince is truly at. How can Derby expect to replace someone of that value?
This is a balancing act for manager Gary Rowett in all fairness, as he has been backed by owner Mel Morris to do with his playing squad whatever he feels is right in order to rebuild it for a Championship title challenge come August. If that means selling Ince for good money in order to be able to reinvest it, then so be it.
The fans would strongly discourage this. If there is any chance of Tom Ince being happy to stay at Derby and help them get promoted, then the club should do all they can to stop his head being turned by those at the top and should remain strong in rebuffing any transfer bids.
At 25, Ince’s best years are still ahead of him and he is improving all the time. In his last three Championship seasons, Ince has 11, 12 and 14 goals respectively from out wide, as well as providing many others. Hence his ascent doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon. It’s easy to see him forcing his way into the England reckoning at some point, especially because of his end product. He looks a better long-term bet than Andros Townsend for example.
It’s this possibility which is Derby’s main worry. If Ince receives any encouragement from Gareth Southgate or the England hierarchy, he simply has to leave. Southgate will not pick a player plying his trade in the second tier for a World Cup squad, so in this case, Premier League football would be crucial for him.
Many stranger things have happened than Tom Ince staying at Derby though and as long as there is any possibility of it happening; Gary Rowett and the club must do everything in their power to make that happen.