Clock is ticking for Cipriani and Haskell
December 15, 2008
Danny Cipriani featured as a second half replacement in Wasps' Heineken Cup victory over Edinburgh at Adams Park last weekend © Getty Images
England internationals Danny Cipriani and James Haskell have been given until the end of the month to agree new contracts with their Premiership side London Wasps.
The club's new owner Steve Hayes is determined to hang on to the duo and is aware that both are free to negotiate with rival clubs from January 1. The duo, both capped since signing their last contracts, will be offered significant salary increases this week that will reflect their international status and club officials are confident the players will put pen to paper.
"I am confident that Danny and James will be staying with us," Wasps chief executive, Tony Copsey told the Guardian. "We have been talking to them regularly and, while there is no pressure on anyone, we would like to have the contracts dealt with by the end of the month. We are in good financial shape with Steve taking over the ownership and we are bucking the current trend."
The newspaper reports that Hayes, who took a controlling share of the club earlier this month, will be involved in talks with both Cipriani and Haskell.
"Wasps has been and will continue to be about the people," he said. "We want to ensure that we keep and attract the best players to ensure we maintain the success that has been seen over the last decade."
Speaking earlier this month, Cipriani expressed a desire to stay with the club but urged the club's owners to secure all their young stars. "I would like to stay at Wasps and have my future here. I've just got to know about the players who are going to stay around as well," he said. "You want to make sure that you have all the young players and you have all the talented players coming through together and staying on.
"I think Steve is going to try and get all the contracts done as a whole team. Everyone has got that bit of uncertainty above their heads so its good that everyone knows where they are going. Wasps is such a great club. Ideally, I would like to stay at Wasps and get the whole structure in place and get everything right. It is a unique place with the values to win. There are some of the best coaches in the world here and their winning mentality rubs off on the younger players.
"I have been here for two seasons now and we have won two trophies. Winning trophies is what it is all about. It is the best feeling. The key is to keep this squad together that has been successful. Steve Hayes is a top guy who I think will be good for the club," said Cipriani.
Perennial achievers Wasps have struggled so far this season and are currently languising in ninth place in the Premiership but back-to-back Heineken Cup victories over Edinburgh in the last fortnight have revitalised their European campaign.