Stoke City have been dealt a blow to their chances of keeping Nathan Collins at the bet365 Stadium this summer.
That’s according to a report by The Athletic, who claimed that Sean Dyche’s Burnley have retained their January interest in the 20-year-old centre-back ahead of the upcoming market.
The Clarets had a number of bids for the £1.8m-rated defender turned down by Stoke in the winter window, although it would seem as if the Premier League side have no intention of moving on to a new target this summer.
Considering just how impressive Collins – whom Republic of Ireland under-21 manager Jim Crawford dubbed a “leader” – has been for the Potters this season, as well as how highly rated the youngster is at the club, the news of Burnley’s continued interest in the youngster is likely to come as a sickener to both Michael O’Neill and fans of the club alike.
Indeed, over his 22 Championship appearances for Stoke this season, Collins helped his side to keep nine clean sheets, as well as averaging 1.2 interceptions, 1.1 tackles, 2.7 clearances and winning five duels per game. The 20-year-old was also impressive in an attacking capacity, scoring two goals and providing one assist in the league.
As such, losing a player with the obvious talent and potential of the £5,900-per-week defender this summer would undoubtedly dent the Northern Irishman’s hopes of putting together a side capable of mounting a push for the play-offs next season, while also depriving Stoke fans of seeing an academy graduate of the club blossom into a key member of their first team squad over the coming years.