George Ford will leave Leicester Tigers this summer
Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford will leave the club at the end of the season.
He is expected to join Bath, where his father Mike is an assistant coach.
The 19-year-old's decision to seek a new challenge at the end of his current 12-month deal comes after lengthy contract negotiations between the two parties.
Tigers are believed to be very disappointed with his decision and feel that they have done everything in their power to keep him at Welford Road.
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I understand that Tigers offered Ford a lucrative two-year deal to stay at the club.
They also told the teenager, in no uncertain terms, that they wanted him to stay at Welford Road and they believed the best place for him to continue his development would be to remain at Leicester.
But despite what they see as their best efforts to keep him, Ford has now told the club that he sees his future elsewhere.
I understand the issue of 'game time' has been a constant bone of contention throughout the talks.
Ford has been keen to guarantee as much time on the pitch as possible in any future deal but, with Toby Flood under contract at Leicester until the summer of 2014, Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill has told Ford he must be playing better than his team-mate to earn a starting shirt in the big games.
With Flood on England duty during the autumn internationals and Six Nations, Ford would have been almost guaranteed to start between 10 and 14 games a season, if he had agreed to stay here next year.
He could have begun residence as the club's No.1 fly-half, if Flood departed for a new challenge.
Ford started 11 games last season and came off the bench four times.
This year, he has already started nine games with another four appearances as a substitute.
Ford made a huge impact last season and his application, game management and maturity was a leading light in the club's successful run to the LV= Cup final victory.
He also put in an excellent showing the Aviva Premiership semi-final win over Saracens at Welford Road when Flood was injured. But he has struggled at times this season and a series of bad days with the kicking boot could have cost Leicester dearly in a number of games they ended up winning by the skin of their teeth.
His goal-kicking percentage currently stands at 64 per cent.
If, as expected, Ford does decide to join Bath, Gary Gold's club will have to pay Leicester up to £45,000 in compensation for taking the services of a player who is still within the England Under-20s set-up.
As a result of Ford's decision, Kiwi Dan Bowden is expected to be handed the No.10 shirt for the upcoming LV= Cup fixtures.