George Ford has written an open letter to Leicester Tigers fans after it was confirmed he’s signed a “long-term” deal with Sale Sharks starting next season.
The 28-year-old re-joined Leicester in 2017 from Bath and has helped the Tigers to eight wins from eight this campaign.
However, Ford now wants to move back to the North West to be near to his friends and family after leaving home as a teenager.
“Yesterday I spoke to Steve and told him that I wouldn’t be extending my contract with the club next season,” wrote Ford.
“This has been an incredibly difficult process but I have been given the opportunity to join Sale Sharks in July. To play my rugby in the North West, to be close to my family and to play a part in driving Sale Sharks forward is something I am hugely excited about and can’t turn down.
“I made my debut for Tigers 12 years ago this month and people that know me will understand how tough a decision this has been. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities the club has given me.
“Driven by Steve, the club stands on the verge of a very special period and every day my sole focus continues to be doing everything I can to become a better player and help Leicester Tigers be successful.”
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Leicester Tigers draw up a three-man shortlist to replace George Ford
According to reports, the club have identified three new number 10s who could replace Ford when he leaves the club next summer.
#1. Handre Pollard
- Age: 27
- Honours: South Africa, 57 caps
- Current club: Montpellier
- Chance of signing: 2/5
The big-money option. Pollard’s world-record contract of £1m per season at Montpellier expires this summer, and he may be tempted by a move to Welford Road if Tigers comes close to matching Ford’s current deal, which is approximately £680,000 per season.