Burnley £12m move could spark Man Utd and Arsenal bidding war for Stoke City ace


Burnley could start a bidding war as they get serious about Nathan Collins.

Sean Dyche has been a long-time admirer of the 20-year-old Stoke City defender, who is currently recovering from a foot injury.

He wants Collins this summer as part of a succession plan for James Tarkowski, the 28-year-old centre-back who only has a year left on his contract. Burnley insiders expect the club to sit tight on Tarkowski even if it risks losing him for free in 2022.

They were rebuffed with cheeky inquiries for Collins reported to be around the £7m mark in January but are now expected to come in at nearly double that.

Yet Burnley are not the only club to have been watching Collins’s progress with interest over the last couple of years and news of their latest plot is likely to spark rivals into action.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City have all been linked and will now have to make their move or risk missing out on one of the hottest properties outside the Premier League. He is under contract at Stoke until 2024.

Collins joined Stoke as a 15-year-old from Cherry Orchard, Dublin, when then head of recruitment Mark Cartwright and scout Tony Bowen helped convince him and his family that Stoke was the best place for his development.



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Walsall were keen to take him on loan as a 17-year-old in League One but he stayed put to make his first team debut that season under then Stoke boss Nathan Jones.

Jones handed him the armband at the age of 18 on a couple of occasions at the start of the next season, making him the club’s youngest ever captain, and he has emerged as a first team regular and key man under Michael O’Neill.

Collins has slotted in at centre-half, on the right of a back three and at right-back as he makes his way in the Championship, but it is in the middle that he will spend most of his career, building a reputation for his technique, ability to read the game and handle the physical side.

What is Nathan Collins’ asking price? Have your say in the comments section

He has been nurtured through the youth ranks at Republic of Ireland as a potential senior captain, saying recently: “I’d like to be. It’s what I dream about and want to do in life but who knows? Football is a mad little game.”

He has made 47 appearances for Stoke in all and Michael O’Neill, who has already been seeking defensive reinforcements at right and left-back, is likely to want to bring in a centre-back too if he does leave.

Harry Souttar, currently on international duty with Australia, has been scouted in the Premier League too while James Chester and Danny Batth offer experience. Youth team graduates Will Forrester and Connor Taylor are wanted on loan as they make the step up.





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