Leicester captain Ed Slater insists Manu Tuilagi rejected lucrative approaches from rival clubs after being swept along by the growing sense of anticipation at Welford Road.
Tuilagi has agreed a new three-year contract reportedly worth upwards of ?425,000 per season, in the process rejecting advances from Wasps, Saracens and Worcester who were keen to sign one of the most dangerous players in the English game.
Leicester lie third in the Premiership and top their Champions Cup pool with the summer arrival of assistant coach Aaron Mauger introducing an exciting new dimension to the Tigers' play.
Slater believes Tuilagi's determination to resume playing - he has been out for 14 months with a groin injury - and the changing environment at Welford Road trumped money when it came to settling his future.
"Keeping Manu is a big statement. The club have invested heavily in him and I don't think he's been short changed," Slater said.
"From his point of view the decision was about what's best for him and after the year he's had he just wanted to get back to playing rugby.
"He could also see the buzz around the training ground off the back of Aaron Mauger's arrival. He can see the changes and wants to be a part of it.
"He didn't want to chase the money, otherwise he wouldn't have re-signed. The whole package he saw at Leicester was more important than getting money elsewhere."
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill admits Tuilagi's decision to stay was not a foregone conclusion.
When asked if he was confident Tuilagi would sign a new contract, Cockerill said: "Yes and no.
"When you get to the point where you've made your offer and you say 'have a think about it and let us know', you have a few days when you think that may or may not come back positive.
"All the language from the player was relatively positive. I know Manu pretty well. I've coached him for a long time and know him as a person.
"If those amounts of money are supposedly being offered by other clubs, then there's a decision to be made."
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