Northampton boss expects Chris Ashton to leave

Chris Ashton
Ashton has scored four tries in seven games for Saints this season

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder says England wing Chris Ashton does not appear to want to talk to the club about a new contract.

The 24-year-old has been linked with a move to Saracens, with his current deal at Franklin's Gardens ending in 2012.

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

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

Saints chairman Leon Barwell has stated he would not "throw money" at the England wing in order to keep him at the club.

"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," said Mallinder.

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

Mallinder has also warned that Ashton will have to work hard to get back into the Saints' starting XV on return from suspension, regardless of what happens with his future beyond next summer.

Wing Jamie Elliott has scored five tries in six appearances for Saints this term whilst Russia international Vasily Artemyev has crossed the line seven times in nine appearances.

"He's got to fight for his position on the field like everybody else and, at the moment, our wingers are doing really well."

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