According to The Sun’s Alan Nixon, Crystal Palace are reportedly eyeing up a move for Stoke City starlet Nathan Collins.
The Eagles have no fewer than eighteen players set to be out of contract in the summer, including defenders Gary Cahill, 35, and Scott Dann, 33, with several new start needed to come in ahead of their potential departures.
And now, The Sun claims Palace are scouting Stoke’s Collins, but that they face stiff competition from Premier League rivals Arsenal and Burnley.
The report adds that Burnley are lining up a £10m bid for the 19-year-old, who has been heavily linked with a bet365 Stadium exit.
Described as “very composed” by James McClean, Collins is a throwback to the traditional centre-back, possessing fine positional sense and awareness.
One of his other club-mates, Joe Allen, was also effusive in his praise for his younger teammate, saying: “There’s a lot of work to be put in and a long way for him to go, but I hope to see him in the Premier League one day. Hopefully with Stoke. He’s certainly got the tools for it — technically, and also in terms of his personality.”
And this level of maturity was clearly on display during his defensive shift in Stoke’s 2-1 defeat to Watford. Whilst he ended up on the wrong side, he held his own for the majority of the game.
As per SofaScore, the £1m-rated colossus made two tackles and three interceptions which was the joint-highest amount of any player for Michael O’Neill’s side, whilst he also took a game-high 98 touches of the ball as he looked comfortable at the back and confident in possession.
He kept Palace’s long-term target Ismaila Sarr in his back pocket for most of the game, as Sarr could only win four duels from 12 attempts as the teenager did his best to nullify the threat on the right-hand side of the pitch.
Despite his age, Collins clearly has an experienced head on his young shoulders, having made 44 appearances for the Potters across all competitions, and he is probably the closest thing Palace could have to the next Scott Dann, who has never been shown a card of any kind over the course of his career so far.
If Steve Parish can get a deal over the line, he could turn out to be a shrewd investment at Selhurst Park.