Stoke City want more than £15m for defensive starlet Nathan Collins, TEAMalk understands.
The Irish teenager, who has come through the ranks at the Stoke Stadium, has emerged as a key piece in the middle of Michael O’Neill’s defence this season.
His form has not gone unnoticed and we understand half-a-dozen Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, have been watching the player.
Several of those clubs have made contact with Stoke, but they have all been told that he is not for sale.
Burnley placed a bid of just under £5m, but Stoke barely took that seriously and a club source confirmed to us that they would not even consider thinking about a deal unless it started at £15m, even then that would only be a starting point.
Collins has become a regular for Michael O’Neill this season and has made 19 Championship appearances. The Leixlip-born star is as equally at home playing at right-back or centre-back.
Irishman O’Neill rates his him highly and recently said: “We’re obviously in difficult times with where clubs are financially, all clubs.
“You can always go out and look for players but we had players around the club we felt could contribute. The likes of Harry Souttar, Nathan Collins. Tyrese Campbell is an example of a player who when I arrived at the club I was told that he was leaving. He’s now on a long-term contract at the club.
“We didn’t want potential to leave the building so we had to address that. Equally then we had to get the right types of characters and right types of players into the building. I think we’ve done that.”
Macari: Sale no benefit to Stoke
Former Potters boss Lou Macari thinks the club must keep hold of Collins.
“There’s talk about a £10m or £12m move, but I just don’t see how those sort of figures would benefit Stoke City,” Macari told the Stoke Sentinel.
“Ok, if Collins continues to develop and has another good season, then his asking price would be heading towards £20m if not more.
“But that wouldn’t really benefit Michael O’Neill.”
The 19-year-old is contracted to Stoke until 2024, and the club hope he will be staying long-term and plays a part in helping them into the Premier League.