St Helens have offered new deals to out of contract James Bentley and Jack Ashworth - but face a battle to hang onto both.

A host of Super League clubs are circling the duo, who were members of Saints’ dominant title-winning squad last season.

Prop Ashworth made 28 appearances in total - 27 off the bench - and featured in the Grand Final win over Salford.

Bradford academy product Bentley played 17 times, and started this season as a stand-in for James Roby at hooker before playing centre in the World Club Challenge.

The 23-year-old is primarily a back rower though, having first made an impression with the Bulls in the Championship.

James Bentley has played in a variety of positions while at St Helens

That earned him a three-year deal at Saints that expires this season, and Castleford and Hull KR are among the clubs expressing an interest in him for 2021.

The Tigers, Huddersfield and Salford are thought to be in a cluster of clubs considering a move for Ashworth, 24, who progressed through Saints’ academy system.

It means Saints could face a significant turnaround in their pack for next season, with England prop Luke Thompson already having signed for NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs.

The Australian club have openly admitted they would like Thompson to move immediately, having lost their opening three matches.

But Saints are keen to retain his services for the rest of the year after his starring role in last year’s Grand Final success.

St Helens lift the 2019 Super League title after beating Salford at Old Trafford

Two other young English players attracting interest for 2021 are Catalans back row or centre Matt Whitley and London prop Rob Butler.

Like Ashworth, the pair have been in the England Knights squad, with Whitley now in his second season in France having started at Widnes.

Front rower Butler is a product of the Broncos academy, but the capital club are struggling to plan for next year with no certainty yet over promotion and relegation and their parachute payment from Super League only covering 2020.

Coach Danny Ward said: “It’s impossible to do any planning. We’re absolutely nowhere near getting into serious conversations with anyone.

“The potential difference in central funding is £1.8million for a Super League club or £300,000 in the Championship - they are worlds apart in terms of the two scenarios we could be in.”