Manu Tuilagi: Leicester Tigers chairman says England centre's exit is 'extremely sad'
England centre among five players who left the Premiership club after refusing 25 per cent pay cut for 2020-21 season
Last Updated: 04/07/20 9:07pm
Leicester Tigers chairman Peter Tom has described Manu Tuilagi's departure as "extremely sad" but says wage cuts were required to ensure the club's survival.
Tuilagi was one of five players to leave the club after refusing to accept a 25 per cent pay cut for next season.
Sale Sharks are reported to have made contact with the England centre, who has spent his entire professional career at Welford Road.
"To see Manu moving on is extremely sad for the club," Tom told Leicester Tigers TV. "Obviously, we wish him all the best."
Telusa Veainu, Greg Bateman, Noel Reid and Kyle Eastmond have also left Leicester, with all five understood to have the ability to sue the Tigers for constructive dismissal. Forward Jordan Taufua is also expected to depart.
The players can effectively walk away as free agents due to breach of contract.
"I'm disappointed to a degree," said Tom. "We'd have much preferred to have these conversations in private.
This is all about how to ensure the survival of Leicester Tigers. That's foremost in all our minds.
"I fully respect everyone coming to their own conclusion. At the end of the day they have to come to their conclusion about what's best for their families and things like that.
"The point is five guys have decided that they are going to move on.
"The positive side of that is that a high percentage of the squad had no issues and understood the situation and we're prepared to accept it and take the Tigers forward. Like I say, I'd prefer it hadn't happened in the media.
"The fact was these tough decisions had to be made.
"You read the media and occasionally I read social media. The majority of our supporters understand what a very difficult situation this is.
"I even had some supportive messages this morning. I also had a few giving me a good kicking as well.
"This is all about how to ensure the survival of Leicester Tigers. That's foremost in all our minds.
"We would like to share everything with everybody but ultimately we can't."