The electrifying form of Tom Ince for Ian Holloway’s adventurous Blackpool is, as always seems to, attracting the interference of the British press in order to link the young Englishman to the higher echelons of the domestic game.
It has become an expectation now that, after a promising individual displays good form for a team residing in a lower league, the Championship in this case, he will pick up the flirtatious glances of an affluent top tier club and it is up to the tabloid to play the role of matchmaker in linking both parties together.
Alex Ferguson, having spent 26 long years entrenched in the English game and watched it grow into the media driven force it is now, will be fully appreciative of that cycle, one that now includes his Manchester United, Blackpool and Tom Ince, with the Sunday Express generously matching them together.
£6 million is the suggested fee, representing decent business for United considering the recent premiums for British talent filed under the bracket of “young” and “talented” that has risen to obscene levels in recent years, think of Liverpool’s spectacular £35 million for Andy Carroll as a case in point,
It would also nudge Manchester United further in the direction they seem to be heading in the final years of Ferguson’s reign of a fresh generation with a homegrown core. Turning 21 in January, Ince will join the likes of Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in a promising age-group of early 20s.
Under them sit the hotly-tipped centre-back pairing of Scott Wootton and Michael Keane, both impressive in a recent League Cup tie with Newcastle United, while the precious talent of 18 year old Nick Powell was acquired in the summer for £6 million and will probably be charged with the eventual succession of Paul Scholes’ centre-midfield slot.
If the Red Devils’ do follow through on their rumoured interest, one would think the former Liverpool academy graduate will be the natural heir to the left-sided position which had become synonymous with Ryan Giggs before the frustrating inconsistency of Nani and then Ashley Young had been charged with taking the pressure off the 37 year old’s ageing limbs.
Nani, recently rumoured to be in a physical confrontation with a team-mate in training amongst other reports, on the verge of a big money move to Zenit St Petersburg before the transfer deadline severed the deal. The Portuguese doesn’t look to have a long term future in Salford and Ince, green-eyed and with the prime of his career long on the horizon, could be set to become the replacement.
The remit of Ferguson’s last years appears to be to breathe the fresh air of a British crop into his squad before he eventually hands it over and Ince, son of Ferguson’s former combative midfielder Paul, will certainly fit the bill; a versatile attacking player capable of the majestic, entrenched in the admirable technical philosophy of Holloway’s puerile Blackpool for the past year and even longer in the England youth set-ups.
12 goals in 39 appearances is his current record on the north-west coast and 2 of those goals, scored at the start of the season in victory over Millwall, summoned interest from an unnamed club, interest that Holloway vehemently rebuffed.
Manchester United’s interest appears to be slightly more concrete than that mystery offer however and with Tangerine’s Chairman Karl Oyston sticking rigorously to the modest wage structure that saw them embark on a single-year foray into the Premier League, it remains to be seen if Blackpool can persuade Ince to resist the telling lure of Old Trafford.
Ferguson has seen the process of transfer by media so many times before and has he looks to wind down his time at the top, could be about to witness it again in a move as he hunts Ince’s sublime talent to be the answer to Manchester United’s English future.
Written by Adam Gray
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