Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan says the NRL club are anxious to retain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, but won’t be able to “go anywhere near” the Warriors’ reported offer of $800,000 to sign the star fullback.
The Auckland-based side are understood to have been aggressively pursuing the 21-year-old quick-stepping Kiwi, who comes off contract at the end of the season.
According to Fairfax Media, the club is close to agreeing a lucrative deal worth upwards of $800,000 a year – double the $400,000 odd the Tricolours have reportedly offered to keep him.
Canavan admitted that to lose Tuivasa-Sheck would be a huge setback for the Roosters, who spent time developing the talented youngster as their long-term fullback following the retirement of captain Anthony Minichiello at the close of last season.
“We’re very keen to keep him, but we do have a thing called the salary cap,” he told AAP.
“If the reported figures are correct from other clubs, we can’t go anywhere near that.”
Tuivasa-Sheck has been in blistering form this season, scoring a try and running a whopping 314 metres in the Roosters’ shock home loss to Cronulla on Sunday.
Canavan said the Roosters had started negotiations in a bid to secure the Kiwi international’s future at Bondi beyond 2015.
He said Tuivasa-Sheck’s manager travelled to Australia over the weekend for talks, but the club had not been given any official word about his potential return to Auckland.
“Most of the discussion from our end has transpired, now it’s a matter of sit back and wait and see,” Canavan said.
“We haven’t formally heard anything from the manager. We’ve had our discussions, we’re obviously very much aware of interests from other clubs, particularly the Warriors.”
The Warriors have money to burn on a big-name signing after missing out on Manly’s Kieran Foran, the Dragons’ Trent Merrin and North Queensland’s Jason Taumalolo.
There is also speculation the club’s English fullback Sam Tomkins is keen to return to his former Super League club Wigan.
A host of big-name Roosters stars are off contract at the end of 2015, including James Maloney, Daniel Tupou and Shaun Kenny-Dowall.
But Canavan said Tuivasa-Sheck was the immediate priority.
“Our preference is to retain Roger before we do anything else.”
Forwards Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Dylan Napa have re-signed until the end of the 2017 season.