Northampton 'will not break bank' to keep Chris Ashton

Chris Ashton
Ashton has scored 90 tries since switching codes to join Saints in 2007

Northampton Saints chairman Leon Barwell has said he will not "throw money" at Chris Ashton in order to keep the England wing at Franklin's Gardens.

Ashton, 24, is out of contract in the summer and is being linked with a move to Premiership rivals Saracens.

"As far as I'm aware, we haven't spoken about money. He will know where we place him financially," Barwell told BBC Look East.

"But we're not going to throw money at the problem."

The former Wigan Warriors player, who is currently serving a four-week ban for pulling Leicester's Alesana Tuilagi off the pitch by his hair during a Premiership game earlier this month, will be free to talk to other clubs in January about a potential move.

Ashton has been an influential presence for Saints, scoring 90 tries in 104 appearances since his 2007 arrival, and has won 18 caps for England after making his debut during the 2010 Six Nations.

He is one of the northern hemisphere's most potent finishers and Barwell insists he and director of rugby Jim Mallinder will fight to keep him.

"We're reviewing options," said Barwell. "Despite all the speculation we definitely want to keep Chris.

"Talks are ongoing. No club is allowed to speak with Chris until January anyway.

"But he has to decide where he wants to play. He'll be considering any offers that come his way.

"Jim decides who represents value. He wants to build a stable team. Chris will eventually have to commit one way and it depends on his personal aspirations.

"We initially had conversations with our England players before the World Cup. Jim always talks with his players about their aspirations for the future."