Derby's Tom Ince
If Derby County have genuine hopes of pushing for the play-offs next season, selling your top scorer and creative talisman is hardly the best way to lay the groundwork.
So far, newly promoted Huddersfield Town looks the most likely destination. Their all-time record transfer may be German defender Christopher Schindler at a pocket change fee of £1.8 million but, if they are to survive in the top flight, chairman Dean Hoyle will know that he must break the mould and spend big.
The Derby Telegraph reports that The Terriers have had a £7.2 million bid rejected but it’s expected that they will return with a bigger offer.
And Derby’s £10 million asking price is unlikely to put off potential suitors. The Mirror reported last month that Newcastle United were interested as Rafael Benitez looks to add more cutting edge and forward thrust to the Championship title winners.
Ince, who starred despite Derby’s struggles with 14 goals and six assists last season, is exactly the kind of player Benitez is crying out for.
And £10 million is well within Newcastle’s budget. Furthermore, when you consider that Ligue 1 side Angers would demand £15 million for Nicolas Pepe, a raw 22-year-old with just one full season of senior football to his name (The Independent), Ince appears even more of a bargain.
After all, he knows English football inside out and has been chomping at the bit for a chance to prove his worth in the Premier League for a number of seasons.
And Newcastle should only be encouraged by a price tag that appears surprisingly low – at least in today’s madcap market.