Thomas Ince (centre)

Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly joined the race to sign Blackpool midfielder Thomas Ince.

Manchester United were understood to be the frontrunners for the 20-year-old's signature after his father, a Red Devils legend and former England captain Paul Ince, reportedly met with Sir Alex Ferguson last month in an attempt to push through a move to Old Trafford.

However, according to the Daily Mail, Spurs and Newcastle United have now entered the chase as both Andre Villas-Boas and Alan Pardew see Ince as a potentially crucial acquisition, particularly after his impressive performances of late.

Ince, a Liverpool academy product, can operate in the centre or on the left side of the midfield. The player has been on fire for Blackpool this season, notching eight goals and six assists from just 13 appearances. The England U21 international joined the Seasiders in 2011, after failing to break into the Reds' first team. He has been a revelation at Bloomfield Road since then and has been attracting attention from a host of Premier League clubs for some time now.

Ince's contract with Blackpool runs out in the summer and The Sun reports Tottenham and Newcastle are now considering a January move for the youngster, who is rated at around £8m. However, the Red Devils, who still have a good relationship with Ince Sr., still remain the favourites, if and when Blackpool open negotiations for a sale.

Ince Sr. made more than 280 appearances for United between 1989 and 1995, winning two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup. The former midfielder moved to Liverpool in 1997 and spent two seasons at Anfield.

AVB Hails Defoe

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has praised Jermain Defoe after the striker scored a hat-trick during the 3-1 win over Maribor in the Europa League game at White Hart Lane in midweek. The England international's treble gave Spurs their first victory in the competition.

Jermain Defoe

"He makes the most of the opportunities that he gets and Gareth (Bale) was amazing in his creation of the chances for him. When you have so much quality, you will always get opportunities to score, and Jermain is a clinical striker," quoted the manager.

The goals saw Defoe overtake Teddy Sheringham as the eighth-highest scorer in the north London club's history.