Northampton and England star Chris Ashton is keen to ensure his future is tied up in time for the beginning of the forthcoming Six Nations. Ashton has been continually linked with a move to Saints’ Premiership rivals Saracens and it seems he is keen to know where his future lies before switching his focus to international matters when England’s Six Nations campaign gets under way against Scotland in February.
Saints have continually emphasised they are keen to keep hold of their man, but are not prepared to break their wage structure in order to keep hold of him. Saracens on the other hand have a different view. They are prepared to offer the winger between £250,000 and £300,000 per year. Sarries went on the record confirming their interest in Ashton for the first time last week with technical director, Brendan Venter announcing “there will probably be an announcement in the next couple of weeks.” To add confusion to this already complicated situation, Saracens Chief Exec Edward Griffiths added that Venter was not a part of the club’s recruitment anymore.
The general assumption is that Ashton will end up at Saracens but he has come out publically to deny this. He went on the record after Saints’ victory over league leaders Harlequins stating he was unsure on his future, this despite being well aware of the likely difference in wage offers. He is now keen to make that decision as quickly as possible. Ashton leaves to join his England team mates after Northampton’s Heineken Cup clash with Munster on Saturday meaning if he is to get his wish a decision will have to be made soon.
It seems then that an announcement on his future and any potential move is imminent. With Saracens and Ashton both keen to resolve the issue and Northampton, and any other possibly suitors also likely to be keen to know where they stand on the issue of Ashton.