EXCLUSIVE

Parramatta will withdraw their offer to Clint Gutherson at the end of the week if the skipper doesn't agree to the deal on the table.

NRL.com understands the Eels, who are growing increasingly frustrated with the protracted negotiations, will put a deadline on Gutherson and place a take it or leave it ultimatum.

The Eels want to bring it to a head – one way or another – and are expected to inform Gutherson's manager on Tuesday of their intention to pull their three-year, $1.95 million deal from the table at the end of the week.

Parramatta decided last week they wouldn't budge on their deal and would take this course of action, but wanted to wait until after Saturday night's match against Melbourne before informing Gutherson.

The Eels want to push forward with plans for 2020 and beyond and believe they have given Gutherson ample time to decide if he wants to be part of those plans.

If Gutherson doesn't sign by week's end, the Eels – who were thumped 64-10 by Melbourne in Magic Round – are planning to immediately begin their search for a new No.1 for next season.

It comes as the club prepares to table an offer to New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - as revealed by NRL.com on Saturday. His manager Tyran Smith has been in discussions with the Eels about a potential release from Penrith as early as the coming weeks.

The Eels have discussed luring Watene-Zelezniak to the club prior to the June 30 signings deadline, however the original plans were to play him as a right centre in the hope of keeping Gutherson at the back.

Those discussions could change in the coming days should Gutherson decide against taking up the Eels deal, with Watene-Zelezniak to come into discussions as the club's potential long-term fullback option.

As it stands, the Eels are waiting on permission from the Panthers to table an offer to Watene-Zelezniak, who been angling for the No.1 jersey at the club for some time.

It's understood the Panthers have a recruitment and retention committee meeting this week, which will be the first time the club has had to make a major player-related decision without Phil Gould in almost a decade.

It's unclear whether coach Ivan Cleary wants to keep him, but there is growing pressure from within the organisation to begin a clean-out of the roster following the team's horror opening to the season to clear space in a salary cap that is near capacity for the next 18 months.