Sale chief gives update on sensational bid to sign George Ford from Leicester

Not long after reports emerged linking Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford with a 2022 switch to Sale Sharks, Alex Sanderson has confirmed the No. 10 is a wanted man at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Premiership rugby fans were stunned to learn the Sharks were sniffing around Ford's signature, with the Telegraph going so far as to suggest Sale were "increasingly confident" of completing a deal.

It's understood Ford, 28, is out of contract at the end of the 2021/22 campaign and could be tempted into joining Sale, which would move him much closer to his native Oldham in the northwest.

That's despite the fact he's played a major role in guiding Leicester to the top of the Premiership this term, with Steve Borthwick's side yet to taste defeat after eight matches.

And Sale's director of rugby, Sanderson, gave a candid appraisal of the early negotiations, telling reporters: "I thought it went well.

"I have no intention of counting chickens before they're hatched. I honestly couldn't tell you what will happen.

"We can only put our best case forward and let the chips fall where they may, but I think we're a club with aspirations, with investment and with good people involved. I think we're a strong runner."

Signing a player of Ford's calibre would be a statement of intent to the rest of t he Premiership, particularly given how unfortunate the player was to not be named in England 's squad for the autumn internationals.

News of Sale's escalating interest comes just after the club confirmed six-season veteran AJ MacGinty will leave to join Bristol Bears ahead of the 2022/23 season.

That will free up significant funds in Sale's budget, while it's also believed 2019 Rugby World Cup -winning lock Lood de Jager could be on his way back to South Africa with the Cell C Sharks.

"Fly-half is a crucial position where you need someone of international class if you're ever going to challenge – and George Ford is one," Sanderson continued.

"He's world class and he's probably playing the best rugby he's played for a while. So, that's where we're at and the rest is speculation."

It's typically straightforward talk from the former Sale and Saracens back-rower, who took the Sharks to a third-place Premiership finish last season, his first in a senior coaching role.

Ford—who's in his second stint with Leicester after leaving Bath in 2017—was named the Premiership's Player of the Month for October and leads the league in points scored, with 107 to his name thus far.

Sanderson's approach of going public regarding talks could be interpreted as an attempt to put pressure on Ford's current employers as he looks to recruit arguably the form player in England right now.

There's sure to be more than one interested party in the event Ford is up for grabs this summer, although Leicester's success this season is sure to have some sway on whether he leaves Welford Road.

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