After a prolific four years at Kenilworth Road, James Collins may be coming to the end of the road at Luton Town.
Following his failure to make the grade at Aston Villa, Collins became a goalscorer in the EFL with both Shrewsbury Town and Swindon, with his 15 goals for the Robins in the 2012/13 season earning him a move to Scottish Premiership side Hibernian.
It was a short one season stint in Edinburgh for Collins who returned to Shrewsbury shortly after, but it was his 20 League Two goals for Crawley in 2015/16 that set up a move to Luton and propelled him to bigger things.
In his near four seasons at the Hatters, Collins has netted 69 goals in 174 games, including double figures in the league in every full season he’s completed.
And his exploits for the club have led him to be capped for the Republic of Ireland, appearing eight times and scoring twice, most recently against Serbia last week.
Now at the age of 30, Collins could be looking for a decent pay-day – possibly his last good contract – at Championship level and interest has emerged this week from Derby County and Preston North End, per The Telegraph.
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Both clubs have lacked an out-and-out prolific goalscorer this season, with Colin Kazim-Richards netting a few times for the Rams but with just him and Martyn Waghorn as permanent striking options going into the 2021/22 season, it’s an area that Wayne Rooney definitely needs to address.
Derby would also probably be able to offer a lot more in terms of wage contribution than Luton can and a move closer back to his Midlands roots would make County an ideal option.
Then there’s Preston, who have also struggled for regular goals from their strikers this season – their top scorer being winger Scott Sinclair with nine.
Ched Evans, Emil Riis and Sean Maguire have only scored eight goals between them – that’s just one more than Collins has on his record for the campaign – and Preston seem to need a poaching type of striker – exactly what Collins is.
Again North End could probably offer Collins a wage rise but it remains to be seen what kind of contracts are on offer this summer, with Alan Browne and Daniel Johnson thought to have received lucrative deals when renewing in January.
But could Collins stay at Luton?
It’s still a possibility, but the Hatters will need to get a move on offering him a contract as right now foreign clubs can sort a pre-contract arrangement with him, and MLS clubs are monitoring his situation according to The Telegraph.
Collins may show some loyalty to the club that signed him in 2017 but his starting place at Kenilworth Road isn’t guaranteed either thanks to the January arrival of Elijah Adebayo.
Whatever the decision will be, Collins will be having an interesting off-season for the first time in a number of years!