When the media are coming up with Tom Ince as a potential January signing for Rafa Benitez, then you know they must be getting really desperate.

The attacking midfielder has been linked with Newcastle in pretty much every single window of recent years, going back to at least summer 2013.

The latest claims are made by The Sun, reporting that Newcastle are supposedly looking to agree a deal of £8m for the player.

Exactly why Derby County would be willing to sell Tom Ince is also a mystery, especially for only £8m in today’s market

Steve McClaren brought Ince in on loan when he was still at the club back in 2015, the winger/midfielder scoring 11 goals in only 18 Championship appearance.

Last season he was Derby’s star man, scoring 12 and getting eight assists, then this campaign he has once again found his form after McClaren’s return to the club, scoring seven times in 14 Championship games plus the winner away at West Brom in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Tom Ince has been at the heart of Derby’s revival under McClaren and altogether has been involved in 11 of their 24 league goals this season, scoring eight and getting three assists.

Standing now in seventh place, only one place and two points off the play-offs, it is fanciful to claim that Derby County would consider selling.

With Brentford holding out for £15m for Scott Hogan and it being revealed today that Fulham quoted Newcastle £20m when they enquired about Tom Cairney, Championship players who are delivering have significantly increased their value in a seller’s market.

The conundrum of where Rafa Benitez will find value in such a market, whether buying or on loan, remains to be seen.