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Aviva Premiership
Saints "fairly close" to signings
ESPNscrum Staff
March 3, 2012
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder in relaxed mood, Northampton Saints v Scarlets, Heineken Cup, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, November 18, 2011
Mallinder is targeting replacements for Downey, Wilson and Ashton © Getty Images
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Northampton Saints are "fairly close" to signing a number of new players, according to director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

Winger Chris Ashton, No.8 Roger Wilson and centre James Downey are all leaving Franklin's Gardens at the end of the season with Mallinder eager to find top-quality replacements. With the trio off the wage bill and an increased salary cap of £4.26m plus the option of a marquee signing to sit outside the cap, Saints should have money to spend.

"There's a number of players we're looking for," Mallinder told the Northampton Chronicle. "With James Downey going, we're looking for another option in midfield.

"With Roger Wilson going, we're looking for another option in the back row and probably out wide we're looking for someone else so we're talking to a number of players at the moment and we're coming fairly close to getting that sorted.

"We want really good players playing for Saints and it makes sense for us to talk to everybody who's a very good player."

Northampton have been linked with Wales winger Alex Cuthbert but the youngster has insisted he is staying with the Cardiff Blues.

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