Wolves complete Collins signing

Wolves have completed the signing of Republic of Ireland international Nathan Collins for an undisclosed fee from Burnley.

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.

Comfortable in possession and dominant in his defending, the 21-year-old switches to Molineux after an impressive debut season in the Premier League with the Clarets.

Having started out at Cherry Orchard in Dublin, 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.

Also capable of operating at right-back, 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.

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.”

When discussing the deal, Sellars shone a light on Matt Hobbs and the recruitment team for the role they played, watching Collins for an extended period of time and providing all the stats and analysis for Lage to make the final decision.

Sellars said: “They put the hours in, speaking to people and watching the games, going to live games and watching the videos, getting analysis and data, which has led us to the right decision. You’re trying to find the perfect player who has everything you need, so when he’s got Premier League experience already, and has played a lot of games for a young man, it shows how well he’s progressing.

“You do your due diligence and hard work to make sure everyone is in agreement, and once you get to that stage, it’s easier to get the player. It’s taken time, but we’ve got there in the end. We know we’ve lost some players and need to fill those spaces, so it’s important that we look at that. We’re delighted to get the first one and hopefully there’ll be more coming through.”