Eels captain Clint Gutherson is determined to ink a four-year deal worth $650,000 a season with Parramatta as talks continue to drag out.
Parra have upped their initial deal worth $500,000 a season to a three-year contract worth $650,000. But that extra year appears to be a sticking point for the 24-year old, whose preference is to remain at the club.
Manly are still in play and see Gutherson as a five-eighth or centre, not his preferred No.1 due to Tom Trbojevic.
The Eels released a statement on their club website on Thursday afternoon regarding Gutherson, asking fans to be patient after a number of trolls attacked him on social media.
“We have 14 players off contract at the end of this 2019 season and, while it has long been our club’s policy not to discuss contract negotiations publicly, please be assured that we are working diligently to do what is in the best interests of both our players and our club,” the statement reads.
“As a club, we are obligated to respect the integrity of the negotiation process and this ensures that our club and each player, and their manager, can engage in “good faith” discussions. As a management team, our goal is to implement a disciplined, strategic player recruitment and salary cap program.
“All our players are important to us and we expect that they are treated with utmost respect at all times regardless of the speculation that takes place during negotiations. We urge everyone to support and value every Eels player who wears our blue & gold jersey and we look forward to seeing that continue on Sunday.
“Rest assured that when we have a definitive outcome regarding player contracts, we will update our members accordingly.”
Asked by the Sydney Herald if he is worth $650,000 a season, he replied:”Yes. I’m the captain of this club. I want to be here. I think I am, my manager thinks I am, clubs think I am. That’s where I’ll leave it.
“[Parramatta] haven’t given me the final offer yet. I’ve stated I’m looking for a longer-term contract. I want to call somewhere home for the next four years or more, and that’s what I’m looking for.
“You don’t want it lingering. It’s always in the headlines. I wanted it done before the season started, they slowed it down a bit and this is where we are now.”
Gutherson denied any contact with Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler and said he remained focused on “playing footy”.
The Eels host the Dragons on Sunday at Bankwest Stadium.