Saracens in transfer talks with Wales star Henson

SARACENS have held talks with Wales star Gavin Henson and will decide whether to swoop for the Ospreys star by tomorrow, City A.M. can reveal.

Henson is one of a handful of players Sarries chiefs have identified as possible recruits after fly-half Derick Hougaard was ruled out for six months.

“We have had some contact [with Henson’s camp] but it would be much too early to decide. We have got three or four players we have identified, or we could stick with what we’ve got,” Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths told City A.M. last night.

“When you lose a player like Hougaard you have to look at all the options. We are looking at all the options. One option is not bringing anybody in. We will decide within the next 48 hours.”

Henson, 28, would be a controversial signing, having been out of the game since March 2009 due to injury and personal issues. The celebrity centre is keen to make a comeback, after his stint on television’s Strictly Come Dancing reaches an end, and is still hopeful of forcing his way back into the Wales team for the Six Nations and next year’s World Cup.

Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter has not shied away from bold signings, such as that of Matt Stevens, the England and ex-Bath prop set to join up with the club in January when his two-year ban for cocaine use expires. However, Henson’s availability is complicated by the fact that he remains contracted to Ospreys, who would demand compensation and from whom he is on unpaid leave.

Henson wants to resume his career with a London club in order to be closer to his children, who live with their mother, singer Charlotte Church, in the capital. He has also cited public knowledge of his break-up with Church as a reason for his reluctance to return to the Ospreys dressing room. He has been invited to play for the Barbarians against South Africa at Twickenham on 4 December, but his appearance depends on his Strictly commitments with the BBC.

Hougaard limped off during Saturday’s narrow Heineken Cup defeat to Leinster after hurting his Achilles. The South African underwent surgery on the injury yesterday in London, after which doctors were due to outline his recovery schedule. But Premiership runners-up Saracens are preparing to be without him for six months. Youngster Alex Goode is in line to replace him in the interim.