Thursday 22 August 2019

Manchester United must fork out €20m if they want to capture Irish teenager Nathan Collins

Ireland's Nathan Collins. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Nathan Collins. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Manchester United will have to fork out at least €20m for Nathan Collins after the Irish teen agreed a new long-term contract extension with Stoke City.

The towering 18-year-old defender has become a transfer target for United on the back of a recommendation by their former midfielder Darren Fletcher.

The Scot was on the books at Stoke last season when Collins came to the fore by making three Championship appearances in the final month of the campaign.

Potters boss Nathan Jones has spoken publicly of his intention to involve the Dubliner more regularly in the upcoming season.

He didn't waste time in making Collins unavailable for Ireland's trip to Armenia for the U-19 Euro finals, contending his development would be better served as a mainstay of their pre-season schedule.

Collins, whose father Dave and uncle Eamonn were Ireland U-21 internationals, had two years left to run on his current deal.

It's understood United were preparing to bid €8m for the ex-Cherry Orchard schoolboy.

But with negotiations on a vastly-improved four-year contract concluding at the Bet365 stadium yesterday, United would need to more than double that offer to tempt Stoke into parting with one of their prize assets.

"I think for some players, it could (turn your head), but it didn't really bother me," Collins told the Stoke Sentinel last week, in relation to United speculation.

"I woke up one morning and my brother ran into me, saying 'quick, look at your phone.' There was all this stuff about Darren Fletcher.

"I couldn't believe it when I first saw it and it kept going and going. But it was only rumours and I knew I had to come back to Stoke."

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport