WOLVES HAVE completed the signing of Republic of Ireland international Nathan Collins for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £20.5m, from Burnley.
That figure would make Collins the most expensive Irish transfer of all time.
The central defender has agreed a five-year deal, with the option of a further 12 months, to become Bruno Lage’s first new signing of the summer, and completed his medical in time to join his new teammates for their pre-season training camp in Alicante.
Having started out at Cherry Orchard in Dublin, 21-year-old Collins first stepped into English football with Stoke City, and progressed through the Staffordshire club’s youth system to make his first-team debut three years later.
Collins was established at Championship level as a teenager, turning out regularly for Stoke either side of the lockdown break during the 2019/20 campaign.
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More opportunities in the second tier arrived the following year, as did first senior goals against Norwich City and Middlesbrough, which caught the attention of the Premier League and led to the Burnley move.
The challenge of the top flight didn’t faze Collins, who turned out 19 times for the Clarets in the Premier League, and kept five clean sheets in that period, including against the old gold at Molineux and Turf Moor.
Despite the defender’s best efforts, including two goals in victories over Everton and Southampton, Burnley dropped into the Championship, which opened the door for Collins’ move to Wolves.
On Tuesday morning, the Ireland international completed his medical at Compton Park and watched Lage’s team train, before joining the group as they headed on their pre-season training camp in Spain.
Technical director Scott Sellars said:
“We’ve looked at Nathan for a while and admired him, so we’re delighted to bring him to the football club. He’s a very talented young man – he’s only 21, has played international football and had a good season last year with Burnley. We think we’ve signed a player with a lot of potential, as well as being a very good footballer now.
“We’re getting someone who is physically very good, very tall, very athletic, and is very comfortable on the ball – he can step in and take the ball forward, which is what we need. He’s very good in both boxes and has real aerial strength.
“The feedback on his personality is about his leadership qualities, he’s a good character, so he ticks all the boxes. He comes across as expected, a humble young man who is appreciative of the opportunity, so we’re all going to be very happy.”