Irish defender Nathan Collins has signed a new long-term contract with Stoke City amid interest from Manchester United.
Collins broke into Stoke’s first-team at the end of last season, playing the final three games of the Championship campaign, and has featured regularly for the team in pre-season.
Man United were reportedly interested in signing the centre-half after he was recommended to the club by Darren Fletcher, the former Red Devils midfielder who played alongside Collins for Stoke.
According to The Irish Independent, United were preparing a bid worth €8m for the defender. However, his new contract is said to contain a buy-out clause of €20m. So, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will have to increase their bid if they are still interested.
Collins is from Leixlip in County Kildare and started his career with Dublin schoolboy team Cherry Orchard. His father David and uncle Eamonn were Ireland under-21 internationals.
He only turned 18 in April and has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-17 and under-19 levels.
He told The Stoke Sentinel that his head wasn’t turned by reported interest from Man United.
“I think for some players, it could (turn your head), but it didn’t really bother me,” he said.
“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.”
Nathan Jones, the Stoke manager, rates the Irish defender, who looks set to play a part in Stoke’s promotion push in the upcoming Championship campaign.
“Nathan is a very talented young man. He’s not the finished article by any means and he still has a great deal to learn but anyone who has seen him play will recognise he has great ability and potential.”