Missing out on Ince could prove blessing in disguise for Reading
Reading’s search for a wide man will continue as Blackpool are set to knock back their £6.5m offer for Tom Ince.
The Tangerines won’t settle for anything less than £7m for the England under-21 star having already turned down an approach from Liverpool earlier in the transfer window. This rejection will see Brian McDermott turn his attentions to forgotten Tottenham man, David Bentley.
The man capped seven times by England spent the first half of the campaign proving his fitness with Russian Premier League side FC Rostov and now looks set to be the subject of a bid from the Royals.
It’s difficult to see this offer being of similar stature to Ince’s; few would oppose the notion that Bentley bid adieu to his best days on the football pitch when he left Blackburn over four years ago.
After failing to cut the mustard at White Hart Lane, he was farmed out on loan to Birmingham and West Ham before his stint abroad and, with Andre Villas-Boas’ plans for the future holding no place for Bentley, Spurs would gladly take whatever they can get for him before his contract expires.
His signature would be by no means as big a coup as highly-rated Ince’s, but there’s definitely a case to make for him being able to assist in Reading’s battle to beat the drop.
Bentley’s technical ability – especially when it comes to set pieces – prompted plenty of similarities to be drawn with him and David Beckham in the early days of his career. It turns out these comparisons were way off the mark, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad player, plus Reading have a particular asset that could benefit from some first class service from the flanks.
In Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe, the Berkshire club already boast two good options out wide, yet both have a very similar approach to wing play. It revolves around speed and trickery; running at the defence and trying to get in behind them. Bentley’s game revolves around hugging the touchline and whipping balls into the box.
Pavel Pogrebnyak, who Royals fans might argue hasn’t scored enough goals following his summer arrival, is the sort of towering striker who would flourish with a player harbouring Bentley’s talents playing alongside him and their link up could prove crucial when it comes down to the nitty gritty of the relegation scrap. They’re currently 15/8 to stay up.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date