Both Ince and Atsu have been linked with a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur and, despite his Porto connection, Andre Villas-Boas should prioritise Ince.
Ten years down the line, when the future of both Christian Atsu and Tom Ince is known, it will be easy to say which of them has had the better career. Much of that could come down where they end up this summer, with both 21-year-olds set to move.
Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with both players, as have Liverpool, with Andre Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers keen to bolster their attacking options on the flanks.
Villas-Boas is reportedly a big fan of Atsu, who was a teenager during his spell in charge at Porto, but the Ghanaian has failed to develop as was expected at the Portuguese club.
This season he has started only eight games, making 16 appearances in total and scoring just once. There is apparently a feeling around Porto that Atsu is a little too convinced of his own abilities, and that might have been reinforced by his announcement that he will not sign a new contract at the club, with his current deal expiring next summer.
This could see Atsu available for less than £5million, but even if Ince is likely to cost a little more, the Blackpool player is a better option for Tottenham Hotspur.
Unlike Atsu, Ince has been a regular starter this season, although in the Championship, and he has excellent, scoring 18 goals and setting up 14 more in his 44 league appearances.
He was named Championship Young Player of the Year, and also made the three man shortlist for the Player of the Year award.
With two full seasons of English football under his belt, Ince would likely find it easier than Atsu to settle into the Spurs squad. Ince will have a chance to impress this summer at the u21 European Championships, and it will be particularly interesting to see how he compares to Spurs youngster Andros Townsend, who is also in Stuart Pearce’s squad.
Of course Spurs might fancy signing both players to add real depth to their wing options, although this might limit Townsend’s chances, which would be a shame after his excellent form at QPR last season. If they do have to pick one, Ince looks a safer bet, despite Villas-Boas’ existing relationship with Atsu.
image: © joncandy