Derby County want to pursue a transfer agreement for Cardiff City forward James Collins despite the fact he won’t be available for free this summer, according to Alan Nixon’s Patreon report.
The 31-year-old was a semi-regular figure for the Bluebirds during what was a reasonably unsuccessful first season in the Welsh capital for the forward, scoring just three goals with some of his appearances coming from the bench.
He barely featured for Steve Morison’s side towards the end of the campaign and with the club currently undergoing a rebuild, he could potentially be allowed to leave this summer to make space for others.
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Derby are one side thought to be keen on luring him away from the Cardiff City Stadium with very few forwards available for the Rams next term as things stand, with Colin Kazim-Richards set to depart on the expiration of his contract and Luke Plange moving on to Crystal Palace.
Even Tom Lawrence, who operated as a forward for the East Midlands side when needed, is out-of-contract this summer and the addition of Collins will help to provide a much-needed option up top for Wayne Rooney.
But with the club likely to be operating within strict transfer rules following their takeover after breaching the EFL’s financial rules, he will either need to arrive at Pride Park on a loan deal or on a free transfer.
The 31-year-old’s contract in the Welsh capital isn’t set to expire this summer though, meaning Morison’s side would need to terminate his deal if he was to arrive permanently at Rooney’s side.
He hasn’t exactly been the most prolific player for Cardiff – but he was a real asset for Luton Town and this is one reason for optimism for Derby supporters if he does arrive at Pride Park – though a loan move looks to be the most realistic option at this stage.
Will this benefit the Bluebirds though? Ideally, they would want to get him off their wage bill permanently to make room for a new arrival to come in on a multi-year deal, potentially ruling the Rams out of the race.
If they are able to let him go for free though, another way of making room for another player, that could be an option Morison looks at despite his potential preference to generate a fee for his services.
The second-tier side are likely to be operating within a tight budget again this summer and their heavy use of the free-agent market in recent weeks is perhaps symbolic of that, so even if they were to receive a six-figure fee for Collins, it would be useful to them.
Derby won’t be able to provide that, so the Rams should have other irons in the fire to pursue in case this deal doesn’t materialise, though the 31-year-old would be a good option to have in the third tier.