St Helens are set to offer Luke Thompson a mega-money deal in an attempt to prevent their star forward moving to Canterbury.
League Express understands the NRL side have made Thompson an offer to join the club when his contract expires at the end of the year after emerging as one the world’s best forwards over the last two years.
But the Super League champions are determined to do everything in their power to keep their 24-year-old homegrown talent, who won the Harry Sunderland Trophy in last year’s Grand Final.
The club’s chief executive, Mike Rush, has impressively run the club’s salary cap in recent years despite boasting one of the most dominant squads of the Super League era, leaving the club in a position to offer Thompson a luxurious deal.
Thompson has held internal discussions with people close to him about the possibility of an NRL move and the club are aware that he is likely to explore his options down under.
But that won’t stop them doing everything in their power to keep their prize asset, who has been named in the World XIII for the last two years.
It remains to be seen whether an improved contract will be enough to put Thompson off a move overseas. The forward was tight-lipped on the prospect of making a move to the NRL when asked by League Express last year.
“I’m just concentrating on my rugby for the time being,” he said ahead of last year’s play-offs.
“Then there might be some opportunities there that I’ll have a look at, but I’ve not decided anything yet.
“I always want to be the best I can be. But I’m happy at St Helens and doing pretty well. We’ve got a good squad, so I’m happy and I think that’s all that matters. So long as you’re happy it’s all good.”
But with Canterbury showing huge interest in Thompson, Saints face a fight on their hands to retain the England star.