Royals in duel with Liverpool over hot property Ince

Published: 30 Jan 2013 12:301 comment

READING and Liverpool were locked in a two-way battle for the services of Blackpool's Tom Ince.

Money to spend: Reading FC owner Anton Zingarevich, left, and chairman Sir John Madejski are backing manager Brian McDermott in the transfer market. Pic: Chris Forsey.

Royals failed with a £6 million bid for the sought-after midfielder last weekend.

But manager Brian McDermott was poised to table a fresh £8 million swoop in the hope of agreeing a deal before tomorrow night's 11pm transfer deadline.

However, the club faces stiff competition from ex-Royals boss and Liverpool supremo Brendan Rodgers, with reports now suggesting Ince is heading to Anfield.

Ince, who turns 21 today, is hot property after a storming campaign with the Tangerines.

And McDermott failed to disguise his admiration for Ince, son of former England and Manchester United star Paul.

"We've made a bid, we're waiting on Blackpool to come back to us on that one," McDermott revealed. "He's a Blackpool player so it's difficult for me to talk about players that don't belong to us.

"He's got quality, he can play number 10 or out wide on either side, he loves his football and can score or create goals. He's got a real hunger.

"But like I say he's a Blackpool player, I wouldn't normally talk about a player that doesn't belong to us. He's a good player with potential, I imagine there's a lot of interest in him. But once again I have to say this is a player who doesn't belong to us."

McDermott also confirmed he is tracking Sheffield United's Nick Blackman who played in their 4-0 FA Cup defeat at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

Blades were considering a £1.2 million offer from Royals and McDermott added: "We think he's a good player, but again he's a Sheffield United player."

Reading made three early January signings with the capture of Fulham's Stephen Kelly, Sporting Lisbon's Daniel Carrico and Crawley Town's Hope Akpan.

Now, if they are successful in their pursuit of Ince, they would shatter their previous transfer record of £2.5 million for Nantes flop Emerse Fae.

Royals will also continue to monitor 23-year-old Zambia defender Stoppila Sunszu following an impressive trial at the Madejski Stadium.

But the club is unlikely to finalise a deal before tonight's transfer window closes, with Sunzu resting following his country's exit from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Reading have also ruled out a move for Birmingham City defender Curtis Davies, 27, and look to have failed with a bid to sign an established top-flight player.

"We tried to get one other that I won't name but it finished Tuesday," he explained. "He had a lot of Premier League experience but his club said no."

Meanwhile, Reading be hoping to off-load some of their fringe players in a bid to free up transfer funds.

Royals will listen to offers for both Jay Tabb and Simon Church, while centre-back Kaspars Gorkss has been linked with a move to Leeds United.

A top division Danish club are also keen on signing keeper Mikkel Andersen.

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