By 90Min
July 25, 2018

Stoke City completed the signing of Huddersfield Town winger Tom Ince for a fee that could rise to around £12m, earlier this week.

The 26-year-old, who signed a four year contract at the Potters, became Gary Rowett’s fifth signing of the transfer window, in a summer which has seen the departure of star man Xherdan Shaqiri.

Following Stoke City’s relegation to the Championship, the Swiss international was sold to Premier League side Liverpool for a reported fee of around £13m.

Succeeding the 26-year-old’s departure from the Bet365 Stadium, there was no question that Rowett would be dipping into the transfer market in search of a new winger, to fill the void left by Potters top goal scorer last season.

Having made the purchase of Tom Ince from the Terriers, attention now turns to see if the forward can succeed in the Championship; a league he has spent the vast majority of his career. 

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Tom Ince, who is the son of former England captain Paul Ince, started his career in the youth academy of Liverpool and went on to make one League Cup appearance for the Reds in 2010.

The forward showed a lot of potential in his early playing years, winning the 2013 Football League Young Player of the Year Award – an award won by the likes of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli - as well as being name in the 2012/13 PFA Team of the Year, following his impressive campaign with then Championship side Blackpool.

Ince has failed to replicate his heroics from that campaign in seasons to come however, and only managed to find the net twice in 33 Premier League appearances for his former side Huddersfield Town last season.

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The versatile player, who has racked up nine different clubs across his eight year career to date, won’t be the only new winger joining the ranks at Stoke for the new season, following the addition of former West Brom wide man James McClean.

While some may question his personal views and goal scoring ability - having only netted four times last season for the relegated Baggies - but for a reported fee of £5m, it seems reasonable compared to that of £12m for Ince.

When you consider Watford signed former Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu for a reported £11.5m, it does make you question the inflated transfer fee – especially for a player who hasn’t ever consistently found form week in, week out.

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Whether you believe the fee for Ince is justified or not, it is hard to argue a case that he is capable of filling the absent shoes of Xherdan Shaqiri.

Having scored more goals (eight) than any other Stoke player last season, and having racked up the joint most assists (seven), you do start to wonder whether Ince is capable of providing such a key role in Gary Rowett’s side this coming season.

Replacing Shaqiri was paramount for Gary Rowett, and while there is little doubt in my mind that Tom Ince won’t have as bad a season as the previous, spending next to all the income from the Shaqiri transfer on a player with two goals throughout an entire season is more than questionable, and one that Stoke City may live to regret. 

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