Chelsea ahead of Premier League rivals in possible transfer scrap for 18-year-old starlet

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Chelsea are reportedly leading both Man Utd and Arsenal in the battle to secure a summer swoop for Stoke City defender Nathan Collins.

The 18-year-old has impressed this season after making his breakthrough, making 17 appearances across all competitions, while he has represented the Republic of Ireland from U17s to U21s level.

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It appears as though he could have a bright future ahead of him for club and country, but speculation suggests that he could be on the move.

According to The Sun, Chelsea are ahead of both United and Arsenal in the pursuit of his signature, as the Blues are tipped as being the closest to making their move.

It remains to be seen if an official bid is lodged soon, and if either of their rivals step up their interest given the risk that they could seemingly now miss out.

Nevertheless, it would be in keeping with Frank Lampard’s strategy at Stamford Bridge, as he has given a whole host of his young stars an opportunity to impress at senior level this season with a long-term plan in mind.

Fikayo Tomori, Reece James, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and others have all been given a chance under the current Chelsea boss, and while he will appreciate the need for experience and proven quality too in order to find the right balance to compete both in the short term and long term, it appears as though the Blues could be setting their sights on another top prospect.

Chelsea have conceded 39 goals in their 29 Premier League games to date, giving them the worst defensive record of the top nine sides in the table.

In turn, it’s an area in which Lampard knows they must improve and whether it’s Collins or perhaps a more experienced option, it looks as though he will try to address that issue ahead of next season.

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