Saints ready for Ashton exit

2011-12-30 10:53

Northampton - England's Chris Ashton could be on his way out of Northampton after coach Jim Mallinder revealed the wing is reluctant to discuss a new contract with the Premiership club.

Ashton, 24, is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to London-based English champions Saracens.

He is currently serving a four-week ban for pulling the hair of Leicester's Alesana Tuilagi and was previously involved in some of England's embarrassing off-field antics during the Rugby World Cup.

But a record of 15 tries in 18 Tests for England and 90 for Saints since switching codes from Wigan in 2007 make Ashton one of the hottest properties in English rugby union.

Northampton would like Ashton to stay at Franklin's Gardens but Mallinder won't be surprised if he leaves the Midlands club.

"There's not an offer on the table, because his agent doesn't want to talk to us," Mallinder told the BBC on Thursday.

"We've not had discussions and I think his mind is elsewhere. If he wanted to stay, we'd talk to him.

"If any player wants to go, for whatever reason, whether that's moving to London, or a massive financial offer, we're not going to stand in their way.

"We'll shake their hand and we'll get players who want to play for Northampton."