IAN Holloway admits Tom Ince could leave Bloomfield Road in January – but not for £5m.
The England Under-21 winger has caught the eye of a number of clubs already this season with his displays for the Seasiders.
He’s fired in four goals in Pool’s four opening games, and was the subject of a £5m bid from Swansea a few weeks ago.
But Holloway, speaking in his national newspaper column, says that simply won’t be enough.
“I heard someone say this week that my brilliant youngster Tom Ince will be heading for the Premier League in January.
“And that might just happen if he maintains the incredible standards he has set in the first few weeks of the season, culminating in him winning his first England Under-21 cap during the week.
“But not for the £5m fee being quoted. Incey is Premier League quality all right, and I have no doubts either that he will follow in the footsteps of his dad Paul by one day becoming a full England international.
“I’m not going to say how much interested clubs will have to come up with if they are to prise one of my best players away. But I did note that Liverpool have just paid £15m to Swansea for 22-year-old Joe Allen. “
Blackpool stood strong in the transfer market after the Premier League came calling for both of the club’s outstanding young players. As well as Ince, Southampton made a very public bid for Matt Phillips, which ended up with a tapping-up complaint to the Football League.
And Holloway says there’s no rush for Blackpool to sell.
“My chairman showed in the way he dismissed below-market-value bids for Matt Phillips this summer that Blackpool won’t allow bigger clubs to take liberties with us.”
“We’ve got money in the bank following our season in the Premier League and subsequent trip to the Championship play-off finals. So we don’t need to let our top performers to leave on the cheap.
“I have taken great pride in the way both Ince and Phillips developed. We paid Wycombe £350,000 for Matty, and he has since gone on to become a Scotland international.
“When we were told that we would have to pay Liverpool £250,000 to sign Tom last summer, I took great pride in being told by his dad that he wanted his son to continue his footballing education under me at Blackpool.”
Meanwhile, Holloway has described Charlie Adam’s move to Stoke as a ‘masterstroke’. The former Blackpool skipper left Anfield on deadline day after being told he was free to leave the club.
Stoke were among a number of clubs who made a move for the Scottish star, and eventually agreed a £4m deal. And Holloway thinks Tony Pullis has pulled a rabbit out of the hat.
“It didn’t quite work out for my former former captain Charlie Adam at Liverpool last season,” Holloway said.
“But I reckon that Tony Pulis’s swoop on Anfield to take Charlie to Stoke for just £4million this summer is an absolute masterstroke.
“The Potters play a better brand of football than they are given credit for, and the arrival of Adam will give them a real touch of class in central midfield. Charlie’s range of passing is unbelievable.
“And the likes of Peter Crouch, and now Michael Owen, will thrive on his delivery if Tony can give his new signing the freedom and confidence he wasn’t really allowed to express at Liverpool.”