Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby says he is ‘desperate’ to hold on to Saints target George North.
North’s agent Christian Abt confirmed on Wednesday that there had been talks between the two clubs about the Wales winger moving to Franklin’s Gardens.
But Easterby is understandably eager to hold on to his prized asset, who has scored 12 tries in 31 Test appearances.
And the Scarlets boss admits it would be a huge blow for Welsh rugby should North move across the border.
“It goes without saying it would be a disaster for us and the rest of the Welsh regions, for Welsh rugby in general,” said Easterby.
“We want all the best players we can have. George North is an exceptional talent. He’s come through our region, we’ve supported him and we’ve developed his skills.
“He’s not played for another side, and we’re desperate to keep hold of him.”
North’s contract is not due to expire until next summer, but there had been suggestions Scarlets were keen to offload him to secure a compensatory fee.
Saints have history of paying a transfer fee for players, as they bought centre Dom Waldouck out of his Wasps contract last summer.
But Easterby has dismissed suggestions that his club want to let North leave.
“Why would I want as a rugby coach want to get rid of quality players? My stance has not changed and I don’t want to lose players of George’s quality,” he added.
“We have to come under the constraints of budgets and we are along with the other regions probably the lowest financed teams in Europe.
“That puts us under a bit of pressure. But when you have players like George North you want to keep them.”