After having left the West Midlands in 2016 for Saracens, Alex Lozowski is reportedly inching closer to a return to Wasps.
The 24-year-old made the move to North London to chase playing time and escape the shadow of the then-incoming Danny Cipriani at Wasps.
It was a successful move – to a degree – with Lozowski filling in for Owen Farrell at fly-half during international windows, also featuring at full-back and going on to make his England debut in Argentina this past summer. He proved himself a valuable member of Saracens’ squad in their successful bid to retain the Champions Cup and firmly established himself on Eddie Jones’ radar.
That said, Lozowski has yet to oust either Farrell or Alex Goode from their spots in the club’s first-choice XV and it has sparked rumours that he could leave the club at the end of the current season.
The versatile back has reportedly turned down a contract extension from Saracens and though the financial details of the offer are not known, it is possible that with Saracens’ frustrations over renewing their own homegrown talent and staying under the salary cap, Lozowski could garner both more playing time and a larger salary away from North London.
His former club, Wasps, are believed to be front-runners for his signature, with current starting fly-half Danny Cipriani and starting full-back Willie le Roux both out of contract at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The club are keen to sign both players to extensions but with the South African Rugby Union keen to bring le Roux back into the fold and the opportunity for Cipriani to set himself up for life after rugby with a big-money contract in the Top 14, Wasps are understandably keeping their options open.
Even if both players do re-sign with Wasps, there could be an opportunity for Lozowski to stake a claim at inside centre, with the standout Jimmy Gopperth set to turn 35 at the end of the current season.
The dual-playmaker dynamic has worked well for both Wasps and England over the last couple of seasons and Lozowski could see it as a way to challenge for a spot in the Jones’ Rugby World Cup plans.
Wasps cannot officially engage with Lozowski until January 1st, so there is still time for Saracens to offer the back improved terms or for other clubs to emerge as rivals for his signature, but his departure seems increasingly likely.
Lozowski is a player of the calibre to be a starter at plenty of teams around the league and with salary cap management at the forefront of Saracens’ thoughts, the likes of Max Malins, Tom Whiteley and Alistair Crossdale could all be seen as more cost-effective back-ups to Farrell, making a move away from Allianz Park a distinct possibility.