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Cardiff offer Warburton £200,000 deal
ESPN Staff
January 25, 2014
Warburton's future is still far from clear © PA Photos
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Cardiff Blues have offered Sam Warburton a £200,000-a-year contract - their 'best offer' - to stay at the club, with an offer from the WRU also on the table for the Wales captain.

Following the departure of Leigh Halfpenny to Toulon the club are pulling out all the stops to ensure Warburton does not follow suit. The Guardian is reporting Warburton is 'close' to signing a central contract with the WRU - believed to be in the region of £270,000 a year - but Cardiff are hopeful the flanker will sign with them instead.

The Blues are reluctant to go higher with their figure because Warbuton tends to make more international than regional appearances in a season. His Wales team-mate Alun-Wyn Jones turned down an WRU central contract, and offers from clubs in France and England, in favour of an extension with Ospreys.

One of the key disputes between the regions and the WRU is the idea of central contracts and for a group of Wales players - though that will look increasingly unlikely if Warburton decides to accept his region's deal. The regions are still yet to sign a new participation agreement with the WRU, with divisions existing over control, Europe and a mooted Anglo-Welsh League, as well as the issue of central deals for Wales' biggest stars.

Cardiff's chief executive Richard Holland believes the lack of clarity about the future of domestic rugby in Wales is making it next to impossible to get deals done with players such as Warburton.

"We have made Sam our best offer," Holland said. "Everyone is aware that the WRU has made offers to several players and meetings are taking place daily between the regions and the players.

"We are at the point when we should be starting to sell season-tickets, but as we have no idea what tournaments we are going to be playing in we cannot and it will hit our cash flow. It is madness."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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