Crunch time in contract talks for Leicester Tigers pair George Ford and Geoff Parling
Negotiations over the futures of Leicester Tigers duo George Ford and Geoff Parling are reaching crunch time.
Both are out of contract this summer and have been in talks with the club for the past few weeks about the possibility of extending their stay.
With other clubs understood to be lining up to sign the pair if they decide to leave Leicester, talks are now at a crucial stage.
Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen said he hoped both will stay at Welford Road, but admitted the club need to plan for the future, if the lock and fly-half decide to leave.
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"George Ford is a player who has been at this club for all of his short professional career to date and we think he is a player with lots of potential," said Cohen. "We would like him to stay. We have met regularly with him and his agent but we are getting closer to a time where a decision needs to be made in order that we can plan for next season."
On Parling, Cohen added: "We would like Geoff to stay. We have made what we think is a very good offer and he knows that he will be very well looked after here if he has any further injury problems.
"This is also the best place for him to be to continue his England career.
"He will need to weigh that up against any offer that is financially better.
"Although we don't want to put any pressure on him to make a decision just yet, there will be a point at which we need to know in order to plan."
Ford signed a one-year contract extension last summer to see how much game time he would get this year as understudy to Toby Flood.
While Flood has started 10 games, Ford has begun nine.
Northampton are expected to bid for Ford's services and Bath are also reported to have waved their healthy cheque book in his direction. Ford's dad, Mike, is on the Bath coaching staff.
Gloucester are the club who seem to be at the top of the list competing for Parling.