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Wasps director of rugby Dai Young laughs off Manu Tuilagi speculation

Published 25/11/2015

Wasps boss Dai Young has denied making attempts to sign Leicester's Manu Tuilagi, left
Wasps boss Dai Young has denied making attempts to sign Leicester's Manu Tuilagi, left

Dai Young has laughed off reports of Wasps launching a big-money bid to sign Leicester's Manu Tuilagi as "a complete, utter load of rubbish".

Wasps' rugby director insists the club have made no move for Leicester's England centre, whose current contract expires next summer.

Wasps and Worcester are thought to have joined the battle to prise Tuilagi away from Leicester, but former Wales prop Young has steadfastly denied any attempts on the Ricoh Arena-based club's part.

"We are going to be linked with everybody now, that's the issue," said Young, of Wasps' new-found financial security after moving to their Coventry base.

"And I read somewhere that we are in the hunt for Manu and we've offered well over £500,000 for him.

"It's a complete, utter load of rubbish.

"I don't know where these things come from.

"Manu's an international and if he was leaving Leicester yes, we'd be interested in him, the same as we'd be interested in any other top-line international.

"Are we out there making offers in excess of 500 grand? Absolutely not. It's rubbish.

"If he was available and leaving Leicester of course we'd be interested in him and probably every other Premiership club would be.

"So it would be silly for me to say we don't rate him, but are we in for him? No we're not. Have we made an offer for him? No we haven't."

Tuilagi would become the highest-paid player in Aviva Premiership history if he completes a new deal worth in excess of £500,000.

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has already insisted Tuilagi will become one of the world's highest-paid players if he signs the new contract on offer at Welford Road.

Samoa-born centre Tuilagi missed England's World Cup campaign through a combination of his long-term groin problem and being convicted of assaulting police officers in May.

Tuilagi pleaded guilty to the assault charges, but has now missed more than a year battling his serious groin issue.

The 24-year-old has already courted strong interest from Saracens and French giants Toulouse, but Leicester continue to hold out hope he will complete a new deal to remain at his sole senior club.

Wasps are now among the richest clubs in Europe after buying the Ricoh Arena in a move driven by owner Derek Richardson.

Rugby director Young admitted the club must fight hard not become the victims of that financial success however, refusing to pay over the odds for players' wages, even for global superstars.

"If you start paying crazy values for certain players it will have a real negative effect on the rest of the squad," said Young.

"The players we've got want us to attract top players, and want us to be competing for the best players, without a shadow of a doubt.

"But I think you have to be fair, and I think some of the figures that are chucked out there are just crazy.

"We've had a few questions in the last few press conferences, people suggesting it must be completely different for us now we've got a lot of money.

"But we've got the same money as everyone else, we can only spend to the salary cap.

"We certainly wouldn't be paying over market value for people, because that just causes you problems in the long-run.

"One of my strengths is that I wouldn't buckle under that situation.

"Because you make one mistake on one player by overpaying on one player and there's 38 players who are pretty angry."

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