Chelsea and Arsenal are keeping tabs on the Stoke City and Ireland Under-21 defender Nathan Collins, who is expected to soon become hot property in the transfer market despite making just three Sky Bet Championship starts so far this season.
Scouts from both clubs had watched the 6ft 5in centre half in action before football was last month paused owing to the coronavirus pandemic and, although an imminent offer is unlikely, he will continue to be monitored.
Collins, who turns 19 later this month, is under contract until 2024 and agreed a new deal last summer.
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On top of his three starts, the teenager has made six appearances off the substitutes bench and was called into a provisional senior Ireland squad at the beginning of the season.
His father, David, signed for Liverpool as a teenager and went on to play for Oxford United before returning to Ireland, while his uncle Eamonn is now an agent after playing for Southampton, Portsmouth and Colchester.
The links were first reported by the Irish Sun.
Chelsea have also been linked with Lille defender Gabriel, who would cost about £30million, but should a new centre half arrive in the next transfer window there is an expectation that one of the four already in Frank Lampard’s squad will depart.
The head coach has rotated his defence throughout the campaign with Antonio Rudiger his first-choice since recovering from injury.
Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma have made 15 and 22 league appearances respectively, while Fikayo Tomori is still considered a star in the making despite only a single league appearance in 2020.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are well-stocked at centre back with eight players capable of playing in that position currently set to be in next season’s squad, although Sokratis, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi will all be entering the final year of their…