England second row star Maro Itoje looks likely to stay put in Saracens, despite their relegation to RFU Championship next season. Itoje was linked with loan-spells at both Racing 92 and Leicester Tigers, but it looks like the exceptional lock is staying put at Saracens to concentrate on England and next year’s Lions tour.
The Sports Mail write that Itoje is set stay after talks to join Racing 92 ‘broke down’. In April Jacky Lorenzetti has admitted defeat in Racing 92’s ambitious plan to secure the services of Itoje. The reported seven-figure loan deal sparked a row among other Premiership owners who were unwillingly to allow Itoje play for a club abroad and still represent England.
This was despite national team coach Eddie Jones being apparently amenable to allowing his star lock spend a year in the French league and still be available to play for the 2019 World Cup finalists during the 2020/21 Test calendar window.
The loan deal report first emerged on March 13, the same weekend England were due to play away to Italy in the now deferred conclusion to the Guinness Six Nations.
Itoje’s current Saracens contract, signed last year, would take him to 2022.
“It’s still to be confirmed but I’m 95 per cent sure where I will be,” said Itoje on the Political Thinking podcast this weekend, suggesting an official announcement is imminent.
Speaking in February, the 2016 European Player of the Year said: “We’ve had discussions with the club about what could potentially happen next year, what things are going to be in place. Nothing has been finalised yet,” Itoje said.
“What has happened, has happened. No one at the club wanted this to happen and no one at the club envisaged this would happen.
“The club have said their piece. They have apologised and my mindset is forward, rather than backwards.”
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