THE millionaire owner of French rugby side Racing Metro has described the chances of luring Jonathan Sexton to Paris at the end of the season as "tiny".
It has been reported that Jacky Lorenzetti has met with the Leinster outhalf twice in recent months to discuss his options, with Racing willing to offer Sexton €750,000 per year to move.
However, while that offer could not be matched by the IRFU, Lorenzetti has now said he believes the player is talking to other clubs so as to force the IRFU into making an improved offer on his current contract. "The Irish are the Irish", he told French channel Sport 365. "They're very attached to their homeland.
“They often have a strategy of blowing their own trumpet and using other clubs, notably the French, who are renowned for paying well, to raise the stakes, up the bidding and better negotiate their contracts in Ireland.
“If I have helped Sexton to better negotiate his contract, then why not? The chances of Sexton coming to France are tiny and to Racing ever more so."
Speaking earlier, Ireland coach Declan Kidney said it would take more than money to persuade Sexton away from Ireland.
“Fellas have to look after themselves and I know the union will do everything to keep him,” Kidney said, “but because it’s a professional situation, there’s only so much money there.
“Hopefully everybody will make the right decisions that will keep Jonny in Ireland.”
He added that he didn’t think a possible move by Sexton would lead to an exodus of Irish stars.
“I don’t think anything that Jonny would do would be selfish or lead to a thing like that. He just has to do the right things. Whoever came out with the story publicly, I don’t think the IRFU or Jonny had any interest in it going like that,” he said.
“I’ve yet to meet an Irish player who has actually made his decision based on money. He’s made it on how he’s looked after [and] his affinity to the team.”