The long-running Clint Gutherson saga appears to be coming to an end with the Parramatta fullback revealing he will make a decision within days of whether to stay at the Eels.
Parramatta are refusing to budge on their three-year $650,000-a-season offer, which has fallen short of the four-year deal worth $700,000 a season that Gutherson was seeking.
Speculation continues to swirl about Manly as a possible suitor despite the Sea Eagles denying their interest.
While Gutherson wouldn’t reveal where he would be playing next season, he admitted: “I’ve got to make a decision.
“It’s dragged on longer than I thought it would. I have to have that tough conversation with people around me.”
Parramatta’s decision this week to retain coach Brad Arthur for a further two years could just sway Gutherson into staying.
“With Brad staying now it’s a positive sign for the club,” said Gutherson, who revealed he would make his decision “this week or early next week. I’ll try and knock it all off and move on from there.
“I’m still only 24 so I’ve got to see where I want to be leading into the future, that’s all.
“It’s big. That’s part of what I’ve got to look at, I’ve got to look at everything, every little thing that might be over the next three to four years. It’s a massive decision and I want to try and get it done.”
Gutherson said he hadn’t been told about the proposed Friday deadline the club was due to place on him for a decision on whether or not to re-sign, but said he was well and truly over the saga.
“I’m sure the club’s sick of it too,” said Gutherson, whose manager, Sam Ayoub, started negotiations with Parramatta on November 23.
“They’re doing what’s best for them and I’m trying to do what’s best for me as a player and a person. It’s what’s best for both parties.
“It’s been a bit frustrating. You don’t want to be out there all the time but that’s the way it is. The club’s handled it the way they should and there’s a lot of people off-contract.
“I tried to get it done six or seven months ago and it didn’t work, it’s just the way it’s played out. I’ve learned a lot from it as a person.”
Eels teammate Michael Jennings believes Gutherson and off-contract halfback Mitch Moses will both re-sign.
“He (Gutherson) doesn’t seem to fazed, does he?” Jennings said.
“He’s pretty happy, I think he will stay.
“Now that Brad has signed, I think a few other players will follow with Gutho and Mitch.”
Jennings is also seeking a new deal at Parramatta for next season.
“My manager has spoken to them and they’re happy to keep me. They’re putting an offer up so I’m just waiting on that,” Jennings said. “It’s close but I don’t know how close. Brad is happy to keep me so after (the club) signed him, he will push to get things rolling.
“I’m not pushing it too much but I’m happy to stay. At the start of the year I took the risk of staying for one more year and then backing my ability. I’m happy where I am.
“I haven’t looked at anywhere else but I there are some nibbles here and there here and I think it was another team in England. My main focus is to get a contract here.”