George Ford ‘tells Leicester Tigers he’s joining Sale’ as imminent deal reported

Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford has reportedly informed the club of his intentions to leave Welford Road and join Sale Sharks at the end of this season.

The news comes less than a week after Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson told reporters he felt the Sharks were "a strong runner" to sign the England international following early negotiations over a move.

Former Sale back-rower Sanderson said at the time that talks "went well," which is to be believed if the latest developments prove to be true.

That's after the Daily Mail reported Ford, 28, was given a tour of the Sale's training facilities by their chief executive, Sid Sutton, last Friday before telling Leicester of his plans to leave on Tuesday.

Reports gathered pace after The Rugby Paper journalist Neil Fissler tweeted earlier on Tuesday: "I’m told that George Ford told Leicester Tigers at lunchtime that he is leaving for Sale Sharks next season."

It's understood the Tigers' director of rugby, Steve Borthwick, and head of recruitment Richard Wilks were present at the midweek meeting.

Furthermore, it's reported the deal could be announced as soon as this week, with Sale taking no time to replace incumbent first-choice fly-half AJ MacGinty, who will join Bristol Bears next year.

Do you think George Ford will lift the Premiership title with Leicester this season? Let us know in the comments section.

Ford is permitted to leave Welford Road next year due to a break clause, but news of a departure is surprising given the Tigers remain unbeaten in eight Premiership games this season and are 10 points clear at the summit.

The No. 10 has been key to the club's resurgence and was for many the most notable omission from Eddie Jones ' England squad this autumn.

That's allowed Ford to keep pulling Leicester's strings in the Premiership, where he's currently the top points-scorer on 107, 45 more than his nearest rival, Saracens counterpart and Red Rose captain Owen Farrell.

Eighth-place Sale, meanwhile, have won only three of their eight games thus far as Sanderson looks to guide the team to two play-off appearances in as many seasons at the helm.

That being said, the Telegraph reported last week that the opportunity to join a club in his native northwest is a "strong pull" for Oldham-born Ford, who joined Leicester's academy at the age of 16.

The 2011 World Rugby Junior Player of the Year previously dazzled in rugby league circles, spending time in the academies of Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors before he committed to union.

Sale won their sole Premiership title in 2006 after beating Leicester of all teams, while the Tigers are targeting a record-extending 11th English crown in what could prove to be Ford's final campaign at the club.

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