The Parramatta Eels' salary cap squeeze is set to get even tougher, with reports suggesting star fullback Clint Gutherson could chase close to seven figures to stay at the blue and gold.
It's understood Gutherson took substantially less to stay at Parramatta in his last deal, and will not accept similar conditions this time around.
The Sydney Morning Herald's Michael Chammas has revealed that Gutherson's manager has openly told those in rugby league circles that Gutherson will want big money.
“Clint Gutherson’s manager has openly told people within the game that the Eels will have to find close to seven figures to extend his services beyond 2022 because he took unders in his last contract,” Chammas wrote.
That news comes on the back of reports last week that the Eels will struggle to hold to as many as six players for the 2023 season, with none of Dylan Brown, Clint Gutherson, Reed Mahoney, Ryan Matterson, Isaiah Papali'i, Junior Paulo and Marata Niukore yet to be re-signed.
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Those seven players, as well as a handful of others including young half Jakub Arthur, will be able to negotiate with other clubs from November 1 for 2023.
The Eels have struggled over the past few weeks though, with even Mitchell Moses' return not able to help them during Friday night's most recent clash with the South Sydney Rabbitohs when the side let in 40.
Coach Brad Arthur is under a mountain of pressure as his side stumbles towards a position out of the top four, but Paul Kent speaking on Triple M Radio said the Eels were never in with a chance at winning the premiership.
“I don’t think it [the Eels’ premiership window] was ever open,” Kent said.
“I don’t think this roster has ever been comparable to the Melbourne or the Roosters rosters in recent seasons.
“You can listen to this myth that Parramatta window is open… it’s a small crack.
“It’s a chance if everything goes right. But there’s no way Parramatta have ever been the favourites in any of the last five seasons.
“Brad Arthur’s critics say here’s a team where they have finished top four and he’s been able to get them any closer to a grand final.
“What if the reality is that they are not a top-four team?"