Former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has revealed the reasons for Thomas Ince’s departure from Anfield 18 months ago.
Ince, 20, is expected to return to Liverpool in the opening days of the January transfer window, with reports that a £4m deal has been agreed with Blackpool.
Ince left Liverpool for the Seasiders in August 2011 for a compensation fee of £250,000 after his contract expired and the player felt best to leave the club.
Comolli has insisted that Ince was “never released” and that the club made several attempts to keep the player.
“When I arrived (at Liverpool in November 2010) Tom was at the end of his contract,” Comolli explained to talkSPORT radio.
“One of the first things I did was meet him and his dad, and Paul was concerned the style of play (under Roy Hodgson) was not suited to his son, who was a quick winger.”
“When Roy went I think we made four or five contract offers to Tom which he kept turning down…he didn’t feel it was the right place for him to stay.
“The last offer would have made him the highest-earning player beneath the first team but to be fair to him I don’t think money was the issue.
“We never released him. You don’t release a player like this, you can’t force him to stay. I am very pleased that he is doing well. If they buy him back, good for him and good for Liverpool.”
Ince is expected to arrive along with another young, fast, attacking English player in January – with Liverpool reported to have agreed a £12m fee for Daniel Sturridge.
Meanwhile, Comolli has urged teenage starlet Raheem Sterling to commit his long term future at Anfield.
“My advice would be sign the contract and stay at Liverpool unless there is something which makes him really uncomfortable,” said the Frenchman.
“We tried to look after Raheem as much as we could – he was really a long-term project – and I think he should commit.
“I really don’t think money should be an issue. He is 18 and it is going to be one of many contracts he is going to sign and he is going to end up being a wealthy individual.”
Sterling, Sturridge and Ince are certainly a trio of young, English players with potential to thrive in the attacking areas of Brendan Rodgers’ set-up.