Head coach Anthony Foley has said Munster will do their “level best" to keep JJ Hanrahan after reports that he is set to sign for English Premiership side Northampton.
Foley said it was only natural that a player of Hanrahan’s quality should attract attention from other clubs.
It was reported earlier on Wednesday that the out-half was close to signing a lucrative deal with Northampton. He is in the second year of a two-year contract at Munster.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Foley confirmed that Hanrahan had been offered a new contract with the province and said that they were keen to hold on to his services.
“We’ve offered JJ a contract, and obviously a player of his quality would demand attention from other clubs, coming to the end of his contract,” Foley said.
“It’s happened to me as a player and it’s happened to other guys: your head gets turned by offers from elsewhere. Our goal with Munster is to bring through our own players, and JJ is one of them, and we’d be doing our level to keep the lad.”
The 22-year-old has struggled to make an impression on Foley this season with just two starts so far, and the Kerry native was an unused substitute for last weekend’s Champions Cup defeat to Clermont at Thomond Park.
“It’s happened to me as a player and it’s happened to other guys: your head gets turned by offers from elsewhere" - Anthony Foley on JJ Hanrahan
Ian Keatley has held the out-half mantle under Foley to date, unlike last season when then coach Rob Penney regularly rotated Hanrahan and Keatley.
Asked whether Hanrahan had been frustrated by a lack of game-time this season, Foley said that the player had started the season a month behind his team-mates because he had had a groin injury that needed to be resolved.
“We looked after that in pre-season in order for him to develop and further his game," he said. "That meant he started his season a month behind everyone else, and he’s been playing catch-up ever since.
“He’s obviously a quality player who came on against Sale and made a difference and again, against Saracens, he comes on and he does a job for us. It’s important that we see him as a valued member of our team.”