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Derby County are battling Championship rivals Preston North End to sign James Collins on a free transfer from Luton Town, as reported by The Telegraph. 

Considering no-one in Wayne Rooney’s squad has scored more than seven league goals in 2020/21, it’s no wonder the Rams have leapt to the front of the queue for a proven, second-tier centre-forward whose contract is due to expire in July. 

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After marking his debut Championship season with 14 strikes for Luton last term, Collins has found the net regularly again this time around.

The one-time Aston Villa youngster also scored his first competitive goal for the Republic of Ireland during the March international break, showcasing those predatory instincts with a close-range strike during the 3-2 defeat in Serbia. 

Photo By Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images

You would imagine, then, that Luton would be desperate to tie their Coventry-born talisman down to a new contract before it’s too late. 

According to The Telegraph, Derby are battling managerless Preston for Collins’ signature.

A money-spinning move to the MLS may also hold some appeal for a late-blooming target man who was playing fourth-tier football as recently as 2018. 

The Telegraph doesn’t identify those mystery, cross-Atlantic suitors but an Inter Miami side that looks set to add Kieran Gibbs to a British-based squad may be one of the clubs in question.

Photo by Adam Fradgley – AMA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

In other news, Striker has told Arsenal his conditions for January exit