Slater not surprised by Tuilagi speculation


Leicester Tigers captain Ed Slater is not surprised to see rival clubs linked with a move for Manu Tuilagi but said returning to full fitness must be the "world-class" centre's primary objective.

England international Tuilagi has been sidelined for over a year due to a groin injury and hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was convicted of three charges of assault and one of criminal damage in May.

The 24-year-old powerhouse is out of contract at the end of the season, but has been offered a new deal which Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said would make him one of the best-paid players in the world.

Wasps and Worcester Warriors are the latest clubs to be linked with Tuilagi in a move which could reportedly make him the highest-paid player in Premiership history.

Saracens and French giants Toulouse also said to be eager to lure him from Welford Road, but skipper Slater is more concerned with seeing Tuilagi back in a Tigers shirt than talk of him leaving the club.

The England second row told Omnisport: "You are always going to want a player of Manu's quality in your side, he can be world class on his day.

"He is bound to attract interest from other clubs due to the talent that he has, but the main thing for him at the moment is getting back on the pitch at full fitness.

"He loves playing for Leicester and we love having him here. He just needs to get back to playing again and doing what he does best."