CONFIRMED: England star leaves Leicester amid wage cuts
UPDATE: England centre Manu Tuilagi has left Leicester after failing to agree a new contract on reduced terms, the English Premiership club said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Kyle Eastmond, Telusa Veainu, Greg Bateman and Noel Reid have also left the East Midlands side.
Top-flight English clubs have been trying to rebalance their books in response to both the economic impact of the coronavirus, which brought the 2019/20 European season to a halt in March, and a planned cut in the Premiership salary cap.
Leicester, who said they had suffered losses of £5 million and made 31 staff redundant since the pandemic, set their players a deadline of Tuesday to sign new deals.
But they could not reach an agreement with Tuilagi.
And that means the 28-year-old Samoa-born midfielder will be leaving Leicester, his only senior club, ten years on from his Tigers debut.
Repeated groin problems kept Tuilagi on the sidelines for much of his time at Welford Road, with injuries limiting him to 44 Tests in an international career dating back to 2011.
This month saw the Premiership clubs vote unanimously to reduce the salary cap from £6.4 million [$8 million] to £5 million from the 2021/22 campaign onwards.
Many teams, including Leicester, had already instituted temporary pay cuts ahead of scheduled behind closed doors restart to the season in August.
Asked what had caused talks with Tuilagi to break down, Leicester chief executive Andrea Pinchen told the club’s website: “If we do play behind closed doors until January, we realised we needed to make some real big cuts, that are, let’s be honest, primarily wrapped up in players’ salaries.
“Players were asked, for season 2021 only, to take a reduction of 25 percent, with an opportunity later down the line to claw back half of that amount, and to sign an agreement to say they wouldn’t reserve their rights.
“But they [the players leaving Leicester] wouldn’t accept this.”