Stoke City centre back Nathan Collins is said to be of interest to a handful of Premier League clubs this month, with the Sun recently reporting that both Arsenal and Burnley are battling it out for the teenager’s services.
The towering defender has been on the books of the Potters for the best part of five years now after joining up from Cherry Orchard in his native Ireland and is fast developing into one of the brightest defensive prospects in the Football League.
Now it appears that the opportunity to take his game to the next level in the Premier League is on the horizon as the Gunners move to firm up their interest.
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Here, we take a look at THREE key qualities that Collins would bring to Arsenal if he completed a move to the Emirates Stadium this month…
The Irishman possesses a sound level of dribbling ability despite playing at the back during his entire career to date and would surely adhere well to Mikel Arteta’s requests for his defender’s to play out from the back.
Collins has seen his game improve further this term after being tasked with having to play at right back on numerous occasions under Michael O’Neill, thus allowing the youngster to show his offensive capabilities.
In fact operating in a more challenging role at right back has also seen the player add creativity to his game, after he recorded a respectable two goals and one assist during the season so far.
His passing range and calmness in possession would come as a welcome boost to an Arsenal backline that has left a lot to be desired in those departments at times over the course of Arteta’s tenure.
Having already played close to 50 games at first team level for the Potters, Collins already has a wealth of experience to his name which is way beyond that of many players his age.
A regular starter in the Championship this term, Collins has thrived up against more experienced opponents, with the opportunities to go up against some of the league’s very best forwards proving to bring the best out of the teenager.
Added to the fact that Arsenal’s average squad age has now been reduced to just 26, the signing of the centre back would fit into Arteta and Edu’s approach to how the club conducts it’s transfer business nowadays.
The chance to work with a higher quality of player in the Premier League would also help the youngster to develop his game further, with his potential new club also likely to want to loan the player out during the first few years of his contract, as seen with William Saliba.
Standing at six foot four inches at the age of 19 is some height for a player of his age range and for that matter Collins would be Arsenal’s tallest central defender if he did make the move to the Emirates.
The teenager’s lofty stature allows him to dominate aerially for the Potters both in defensive and attacking situations and would help to improve one of Arsenal’s weakest areas this term – winning aerial duels.
In fact statistically speaking, the Gunners are only 12th in the Premier League league table for aerials won this season, underlining their Achilles heel that had plagued much of their early performances under Arteta.
Moving for Collins would help to improve this side of their game as a collective and would help to ensure that they have a defensive presence who could marshal the backline effectively for years to come.