Monaco look like they have won the race for England Under 21 winger Tom Ince after setting up talks with him in London on Thursday.

Blackpool boss Paul Ince drove his son to the capital to meet Monaco representatives for discussions over a pre-contract deal to join the French club at the end of the season.

There was confusion at Blackpool over Ince Snr’s whereabouts after he pulled out of a press conference ahead of Saturday’s Championship game at Barnsley. It is believed he was also due to meet chairman Karl Oyston to discuss transfer targets.

Instead of talking to the press, he responded to a request from Monaco to meet Tom, who is out of contract in the summer and has been free to talk to foreign clubs since January 1.

Oyston has stood by his manager so far but the Monaco move for Blackpool’s top scorer with seven goals this season is bound to test their relationship.

Ajax and Inter Milan are the other continental clubs pursuing the former Liverpool prospect, while Swansea and Tottenham have expressed interest in offering him an opportunity in the Barclays Premier League.

But wealthy Monaco are in pole position after holding negotiations over personal terms and outlining their plans for trying to challenge Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the French league.