Dorian West admits the speculation surrounding Saints star Louis Picamoles is ‘a little bit off-putting’.
But the forwards coach has reiterated that Picamoles is a Northampton player and insists there is no reason why he will be playing elsewhere next season.
Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad claimed earlier this week that Picamoles had signed a pre-contract agreement at the Top 14 club and would join after France’s summer tour of South Africa.
But a pre-contract agreement would only matter if the 31-year-old’s current club agreed to sell, and Jim Mallinder has already insisted that Saints are not willing to part with Picamoles.
The France No.8, who was recently named Saints’ players’ and supporters’ player of the season, is currently preparing for Saturday’s Champions Cup play-off against Connacht at Franklin’s Gardens.
And West said: “It (Altrad’s comment) is obviously a little bit off-putting.
“Louis is a big part of our squad, someone who has played really well for us this year and someone we really enjoy having in our team.
“He’s our player.
“He signed a three-year contract with us, still has two years left to run on that and I don’t see why anything changes in that situation.”
And when asked whether he was frustrated with Altrad’s comments to the press, West said: “That’s the nature of sport in the modern era, everyone’s trying to do different things.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Louis play on the weekend and hopefully he can play as well as he has done all season.”