Leeds, Newcastle battle to sign ‘improving’ Burnley centre-back Nathan Collins

Nathan Collins Burnley May 2022

Leeds United and Newcastle United are set to do battle to sign Burnley defender Nathan Collins, according to a report.

The relegated Clarets face a tough task to keep hold of the 21-year-old Republic of Ireland centre-back after failing to secure their Premier League survival.

The defender only arrived last summer on a four-year deal from Stoke. Sean Dyche paid around £12m for the player, who made his Stoke debut in April 2019 and made 47 appearances for the Potters.

Since then Collins has developed into a reliable central defender, playing 19 times in the top flight last season. He scored twice after starting the season on the Clarets’ bench.

But since the turn of the year he has been relied on more and he has started every game under Mike Jackson.

Injuries to  James Tarkowski and Ben Mee afforded Collins with his chance and he grasped his opportunity with both hands.

Now Football Insider reports that Leeds and Newcastle scouts have been impressed by the Leixlip-born star. And with both teams looking to recruit a defender, Collins is seen as a young player with “huge” potential.

Burnley rate him highly and, with add-ons the fee for Collins could rise beyond a club-record £15m. But first they must hang on to the player, who Jackson believes will become a household name.

Nathan Collins still ‘improving’

After the 1-0 defeat at Spurs, in which Collins he marshalled Harry Kane superbly, Jackson told the Burnley Express: “I just said that to him in there, those exact words (immense).

“That’s brilliant for him, he took on that challenge of playing against one of the best strikers around, which is great for a 21-year-old, but it doesn’t surprise me because I know what he’s like and what he’s capable of.

“I think he is improving all the time. He has this fearless thing as well, which I think all good players have. They have to have a belief, it is not an arrogance, he wants to improve.

“I think he can still improve on a lot. But he has got a foundation to go on and play at this level for a long time.”

Of course Burnley’s search for a new manager could impact Collins’ future. The Championship side are hoping to appoint Vincent Kompany, but a deal has not been done yet.

While, the defender, as well as the rest of Burnley’s squad will have a relegation clause in his deal. That will likely lower any fee for Collins.