Stoke City would have been braced for considerable interest in Nathan Collins’ services heading into the summer transfer window.
The young Irish international had previously been attracting interest from both Manchester United and Arsenal during the 2020/21 season, after catching the eye with some strong performances for the Potters.
He made 27 appearances in all competitions for Stoke City this term, as they finished 14th in the Championship table, which meant that they’ll be playing their football in the second tier for another season.
But it seems unlikely that Collins will be with Michael O’Neill’s side for the new league campaign, with The Sun reporting that Burnley are set to have a bid of £12million accepted by the Potters this summer.
Stoke City supporters are likely to see this in one of two ways. It will be slightly frustrating to see the club selling a key player that has a bright future ahead of him, but the money obtained from his potential departure could be reinvested into other areas of Michael O’Neill’s squad.
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We’ve already seen some players head for the exit door when their contracts expire this summer, and with Collins also looking likely that he’ll leave in the near future, it could prove to be the ideal opportunity for O’Neill to rebuild his squad ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Stoke haven’t been good enough in recent seasons since dropping into the second tier, and their supporters will be eager to see their side challenging for a timely promotion back into the Premier League at the earliest of opportunities.
So you couldn’t blame some supporters for questioning the ambition of the club for selling one of their key players ahead of the new season, but for a fee of £12million, they could strengthen their squad with some new faces.
Strength in depth is certainly needed in that Stoke squad as well, especially if they’re looking to challenge for a top-six finish in the Championship.
It’s certainly a bold call for the club to cash-in on a player with real potential, but if they can invest that funds from that sale into other areas wisely, then it could turn out to be the right decision for the Championship side, although only time will tell as to whether it’s been the correct call.