Tom Ince and Derby County finished in 9th place this past season, 27 points behind champions Newcastle and 13 adrift of the play-offs.
There were widespread reports of Newcastle interest back in January for the winger/attacking midfielder and both then manager Steve McClaren and Ince himself commented on the interest/speculation.
Tom Ince admitted he was desperate to play in the Premier League but that he thought it could be possible to do it with Derby County.
Hard to make a case for why Derby in the top tier could/would happen soon, they have spent the last nine seasons in the Championship and only one of the past 15 seasons has been at the top level.
That was the infamous 2007/08 season when Derby became officially the worst ever PL team with only 11 points, four of them coming against a Sam Allardyce managed Newcastle, against who the Rams got their only win of the season.
Wednesday afternoon has brought claims from The Mirror that a player plus cash deal from Newcastle could end up on the table for Tom Ince.
Gary Rowett is said to be now willing to sell the winger, in order to raise funds and buy players he wants to bring in to a club he joined only late last season.
The Derby boss would be willing to sell if £10m or more is offered according to the report, with the Mirror claiming that a deal which could suit both parties, may well see Grant Hanley plus cash heading in the other direction in return for Tom Ince’s services.
The winger/midfielder has undoubtedly proved himself to be one of the Championship’s best performers and turning 26 during next season, he will want to make the step up as soon as possible to the Premier League and try his luck.
He was bought for around £6m by Derby from Hull back in July 2015 and including a loan spell earlier that year, he has scored 37 Championship goals and grabbed 15 assists for the Rams. That makes it 52 goals he has been directly involved in from a midfield/wing position and they have come in only 97 Championship starts, plus 10 appearances from the bench.
Rafa Benitez will be looking to unload a lot of fringe players this summer, with Grant Hanley almost certainly one of them, A player plus cash deal would surely appeal to Rafa Benitez IF he still retains any interest in Derby’s top goalscorer this past season.
Tom Ince reacting to Newcastle interest in January 2017:
“It’s obviously nice to see other teams show interest because it shows what you’re doing on the pitch is good.
“That’s good, not because other teams want to look at me but because I’m performing for my team, I’m performing for Derby County.
“The transfer window is always an exciting time but, for me, I’m happy at this club and I’m enjoying my football.
“I enjoy coming into training every day but, of course, I want to be successful, like any other player.
“I want to be playing in the Premier League – and so does everyone else in the dressing room.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think that (Derby could get promotion) was the case.
“This is a club that has a tremendous drive to do it.
“It’s got the infrastructure, the fanbase and the squad to do it, now it’s just putting the words into action and we need to do that, a long way to go and a lot of points still to play for.”