There has been much speculation about Tom Ince and it seems unlikely that he will be staying at Blackpool for much longer.
Monaco were the latest club to be linked with a move for the player but it has now emerged that Swansea are in pole position to secure the England Under-21 player's signature. Ince's contract runs out at the end of the season and he would be free to leave the Seasiders then.
If he moved to a British club at the end of the season, Blackpool would receive compensation due to his age. However, if he joined a foreign club after his contract expired then Blackpool would only receive a minimal fee.
Therefore a move to Monaco would be a worst-case scenario for the club; ideally you would think they would like to sell him for a good amount of money in January. That would of course hinder their current Championship campaign, but it would represent the best piece of business for the club.
It is unclear how much Swansea are willing to pay, but it is likely to be less than the £8million Cardiff City had accepted at the start of the season.
Michael Laudrup has brought his European style of play to the Premier League with the attractive football being created through players predominantly from Spain. It would almost feel like a move abroad for Ince as the football will be different from what he is currently seeing at Blackpool.
Swansea play an attractive, fast, possession game with the effective use of wingers. Players like Nathan Dyer, and Wayne Routledge have excelled at the Liberty Stadium due to the style of football encouraged. Pablo Hernandez has also been an important player for them, however he is currently out injured, and Ince has been identified as the man to come in and strengthen that area further.
Swansea are a well-run club, and Ince could do a lot worse. Ajax, Monaco and Inter Milan have been linked with moves for him but a move abroad at this age is a risky thing to do. It did not work out for Robbie Keane, Michael Owen or Jonathan Woodgate who all moved abroad at a relatively young age.
With Blackpool currently sliding down the Championship table it seems unlikely that a play-off push is within reach, and a move to Swansea now may be best for all parties involved.
image: © Christopher Elkins