Saracens have already expressed interest in the former rugby league star who recently brought Ashton's best friend Joel Tomkins to Vicarage Road, adding further weight behind the rumours.
Ashton is reportedly on £180,000 a year at Northampton and Saracens seem willing to offer more to the winger, currently serving a four-week ban for pulling Alesana Tuilagi's hair in a defeat to Leicester.
And despite insisting he would love to see Ashton stay with him at Northampton, Saints' head coach Jim Mallinder admits the decision is out of his hands.
"You want to keep all your best players but if players want to leave that is up to them," Mallinder told the Mail on Sunday. "You'll have to ask Chris Ashton if he wants to leave.
"Contracts are up all the time for different players. You can't worry too much about that.
"Chris has to concentrate on his rugby, work hard on his fitness and his skills and hopefully in four weeks he'll come back and fight for his place in the team."