Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail, Steve Bruce has admitted that Tom Ince is a big part of his first-team plans for the coming campaign, despite the fact that Derby want to sign him.
Bruce said: “We don't want to lose Tom. He’s an integral player in our plans for next season and not someone we want to sell. There is a release clause there but until someone is willing to meet that he will stay as a Hull City player.
“I can understand the interest after he did so well at Derby last season but I'm doing everything in my power to keep him with us.”
This certainly deals a blow to Derby in their race to sign Ince, who impressed so well during his loan spell at the iPro last term.
Although he only started three Premier League games for Hull following his summer move from Blackpool, he joined the Rams on a short-term loan deal, scoring an incredible 11 goals in 18 appearances.
The report confirms that he has a £5 million release clause in his contract at the KC Stadium, but Derby are put off by Hull’s demands that the entire clause must be paid upfront.
Paul Clement’s men are willing to match the buy-out clause, but not all at once, and it is also stated that Hull could look to further tighten their grasp on Ince by offering him a new long-term contract.
He has just one year left on his deal with the Tigers, and Bruce may be looking to open contract talks in the coming weeks.