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'We had a freeze on, unfortunately the timing wasn't right'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stephen White/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Wasps boss Lee Blackett has admitted they did put in an offer for Christian Wade but it came too late for their former record-scoring winger to agree to return to the club he left in October 2018 for a shot at the NFL in America.

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Wade returned to England earlier this year after his stint at the Buffalo Bills had ended and he quickly expressed a desire to return to rugby.

However, he found the market restricted in the Gallagher Premiership due to the reduced salary cap across the league and wasn’t helped either by the recruitment freeze implemented at Wasps for a large part of the summer due to their financial problems.

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By the time the Wasps board gave Blackett the go-ahead to return to the market, Wade was being courted by Racing 92 and following on from an appearance for them in a pre-season sevens tournament in Pau, it was confirmed on Monday that he had signed a one-year deal with the Top 14 club.

“I’m excited to announce I’ve officially signed for Racing,” tweeted Wade on Monday. “Looking forward to working with this special group of people and winning championships! With God, all things are possible.”

At his midweek media briefing ahead of this Saturday’s first home match of the new Premiership season versus Bristol, Wasps boss Blackett described Wade as the player that got away on them as they were too late with their offer for him to come back to Coventry. “The facts are it was too late,” he said. “We were keen. I was interested to see how he would go back in the sport.

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“He was obviously really passionate about the club, so it was definitely something we were willing to look at and speak to. There is nothing we could have done.

“He came into the club (during the summer) and we spoke at that time but then it was always through our recruitment guys but as I spoke about a couple of weeks ago, we had a freeze on for a while so there was no point speaking to someone when you can’t do anything about it.

“If there was a deal to happen we may have been able to have done it but unfortunately the timing wasn’t right,” continued Blackett, who added that the 31-year-old might come under consideration for Wasps again next year given the short duration of his deal in France. “His contract is out at the end of the season so you might be asking me then.”

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