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The ins and outs of transfer time

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The merry-go-round has started and Tigers fans are in a spin because all we can see is players getting off.January is the month when players near the end of contracts are free to talk to see what offers are available, the month where speculation is overtaken by announcements and the time when supporters start visualising what their team will have to offer in the following campaign.   In quick succession, it has been revealed that Geoff Parling, Jamie Gibson and Mathew Tait will not be wearing Tigers colours next season. All are popular players (and good ones). All will be missed.   The Tig sees Tigers caught in a storm with the announcements coming at exactly the same time as ending the European campaign at the pool stage. The club have so far not retaliated by announcing any of their own signings, though you know there will be some because everyone is at it.   Accepting that players move on is not easy for the fans who, after all, want a successful team for the same reasons as the club management. But player movement is a fact of life; indeed we’ve been warned to expect more of it as the professional game reaches maturity. Careers are short even without the threat of injury, there are only so many places to play and clubs have to cover all their bases within a salary cap.   There have been demands for some “world-class signings” but The Tig would point out it is worth reminding ourselves that Tom Youngs, Marcos Ayerza and Dan Cole would walk into any club side in the world and all three have just signed new contracts at Tigers.   Owen Williams, too, would have nudged the national selectors by returning to Wales but has signed a new deal at Leicester. Six Nations contender Graham Kitchener has done likewise.   That’s five good signings for a start.   Youngs and Cole came through the ranks, while Ayerza was playing amateur rugby in Argentina when Tigers first called, Williams was struggling to get a game at the Scarlets (except when booting Tigers to defeat) and Kitchener had been playing in the second division with Worcester.   Logo Mulipola and Ed Slater arrived without great fanfare and have developed into vital cogs in the machine. Slater, in fact, will feel like another new signing next season after being written out of the current one.   Go back a little further and recall that Niki Goneva came from the French second division to become the Premiership’s top try-scorer with Tigers, while Parling, Gibson and Tait were not headline arrivals when they first wore Tigers colours.   When the merry-go-round stops spinning, it will be interesting to see who has hopped on in time for 2015/16.