Sharks Chase Vagana

The struggling Cronulla Sharks say signing unsettled Kiwis rugby league centre Nigel Vagana is their top priority for next season.

Sharks general manager Steve Rogers said the club was keen to secure Vagana once the National Rugby League's (NRL) anti-tampering deadline expired at the end of this month.

Vagana has been unable to settle a new contract to extend his stay at the Canterbury Bulldogs and is thought to be considering a move to English Super League.

However, Rogers was hopeful last year's leading tryscorer in the NRL would stay in Sydney although he denied he had already started negotiations.

"We aren't even allowed to speak to him but it's fair to say we're very interested in him. He's a very big priority for us, even our No 1 priority.

"When the times comes we'll do whatever we have to do to get him to the club."

Vagana has only been given permission to approach English clubs but he also wants to examine the possibility of joining another NRL team, according to his manager Gavin Orr.

Orr said recently that Vagana was initially considering England because he couldn't have imagined playing for another team against the Bulldogs. But the unsuccessful negotiations meant he now wouldn't be concerned about joining another NRL club.

It is understood Vagana, 28, has been offered about $A220,000 ($NZ254,895) a year by the Bulldogs, less than what he originally signed for in 2001.

Orr believes Vagana could earn significantly more ? up to $A350,000.

Vagana also sought a guarantee of employment once his career ends as he continues studying architecture.

Rogers said he was not overly concerned about that stipulation.

"I run a football club, not an employment agency and I'm sure that's something Nigel and his management will pursue, it's not something I'm worried about."

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