Walker locked in, now for Latrell
Cody Walker has finally re-signed at South Sydney - now for Latrell Mitchell.
After months of debate and negotiations, the Rabbitohs have retained five-eighth Walker on a new two-year deal worth about $1.3 million.
Walker's decision to re-sign shouldn't be an indication Souths cannot now afford to secure Mitchell.
Souths have the money for Mitchell - and many in rugby league say the desire.
The Rabbitohs are chasing Gold Coast prop Jai Arrow - but for 2021, not next season.
Souths have a $1 million in their 2020 cap through Sam Burgess' retirement money - for Walker and possibly Mitchell.
There is even speculation Souths may look to sign Mitchell to a one-year deal for next season with a promise to review his contract status as the year progresses.
During the 2020 season, Souths could move players to free up the required money to nail down Mitchell long term.
Wests Tigers are still interested in Mitchell but rival clubs are convinced the star player will sign with Souths, despite the Rabbitohs' insistence they aren't interested.
It appears, despite a $1 million a season offer, Mitchell doesn't have plans to sign with Wests Tigers.
It was initially suggested the Sydney Roosters would be highly reluctant to allow Mitchell to join their bitter rivals, South Sydney.
The Roosters though want Mitchell off their books and have softened their stance against him joining Souths. Walker and Souths teammate James Roberts are close mates with Mitchell.
Walker remains a front-line candidate to captain the Rabbitohs next season although The Sunday Telegraph reported halfback Adam Reynolds was favourite.
South Sydney are expected to formally announce Walker's retention some time on Wednesday.
Walker, 29, has been talking with Souths for several months before finally agreeing to terms late Tuesday.
With Walker now locked down, Mitchell can start to seriously think about South Sydney.
A NSW Origin player this year, Walker was under contact for 2020 but had tested the open market with Gold Coast rumoured to have been interested.
Souths coach Wayne Bennett said in early December he expected Walker to remain at Redfern.
"Cody isn't going anywhere - he will stay at Souths," Bennett said. "We just have to do a deal and the deal is close to being done. We won't lose a bloke like Cody Walker."
With Walker now signed, Souths can also focus on luring Arrow to Sydney. Off contract at Robina after next season, Arrow has decided to test his value on the open market.
Sources claim Arrow - touted a future Queensland State of Origin skipper - is torn between staying loyal to the Titans or accepting a larger offer from Souths.