REPORT: Tuilagi to keep England career alive
TRANSFER NEWS: Sale Sharks have reportedly won the race to sign England centre Manu Tuilagi.
According to The Telegraph, the former Leicester Tigers centre is set to sign with the Sale Sharks, after being officially released by the Tigers.
Tuilagi was one of five players stood down last week after failing to reach an agreement with the club on their pay, of which all other contracted members of the squad for the period from July 1, agreed to due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuilagi had been linked with a lucrative move abroad but he was determined to stay in the Premiership and remain eligible for England.
There had been suggestions that the 29-year-old may agree a short-term deal with a Premiership club for the remainder of the season before heading overseas but the Telegraph has reported his Sale contract is set to extend beyond the rest of the current campaign.
Last week, Steve Diamond revealed to RugbyPass that Sale Sharks had held no talks with Tuilagi, words many speculated meant the club were in fact about to sign him.
Diamond told RugbyPass: “We have had no discussions about Manu Tuilagi. People see what we are doing and our ability to get everything sorted, unlike other clubs.
“I think we are being dragged into it and I know Manu’s agent well and I trust him not to have brought us into it and I don’t know if it is the current club throwing it around to try and force the arm of the individual. I am very direct and, generally, I will say if we are or not.
“If players do become available of a high calibre as long as we are not contravening any regulations then we will look at other players.
“Financially we would be able to do that, however, we are going through a very intense schedule to get these Premiership games played and we are going to be playing Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday by the looks of it three or four times. Nobody knows where we are with the global season and I am just trying to future proof things.”
Tuilagi’s move would set up a mouthwatering centre partnership with the South African Rohan Janse van Rensburg, while he is also set to team up with his England teammate Tom Curry and the Springbok World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager.
Elsewhere Tigers back-row Jordan Taufua was “afforded an extended period of consultation after being quarantined following his return to Leicester from New Zealand, is still in conversations with the club.”
The club said: “In line with club policy and out of respect to Jordan regarding this confidential matter, Tigers will not comment on these ongoing discussions.”
Source: Telegraph, The Guardian, Rugbypass