Are Stoke City playing ‘hardball’ with Tom Ince? Potters struggling to offload with Celtic now in pole position
Stoke City winger Tom Ince is destined to leave this month. Enough suitors have been outed as having an interest, but the club seem to be struggling to finalise a deal.
Ince, 28, joined Stoke City from Huddersfield Town in 2018 in a deal worth upwards of £10million. Since, Ince has made 88 Championship appearances for Stoke and scored just nine goals, with his future at the club now very much in doubt.
O’Neill came into Stoke City partway into last season and would give Ince his chance to impress before entering this new season. He’d go on to make 38 Championship appearances across the season and score three goals. But he’s been limited to just two starts this season – seven Championship appearances in total.
A move out of English football looks nailed on for Ince – Turkish side Goztepe were credited with an interest in Ince at the start of the month, with Celtic entering the race this week and now Belgian side Oostende.
The race is certainly hotting up, but will Stoke be planning on recouping the bulk of that £10million transfer fee they paid for Ince three years ago?
Ince has 18-months left on his Stoke City contract and with a reported wage nearing £30,000-a-week, he’ll no doubt want to see that out.
That though is likely part of the problem why Stoke seem to be finding it difficult to offload Ince permanently, as a loan move for the remainder of the season looks more and more probable.
O’Neill and Stoke might have to cut their losses. Ince is clearly a player out of form and favour and with the likes of Rabbi Matondo and Jack Clarke arriving – albeit on loan – it signals a different direction at the club and likely the end of Ince’s involvements this season.
To get him off their wage books and prepare for next season, Stoke City might have to take a loss on Ince this month.