Racing plan €750,000 deal to lure Jonathan Sexton
Racing Metro are leading a queue of French clubs eager to sign up Jonathan Sexton on a reported annual salary of €750,000, leaving Leinster desperately pleading with their out-half to stay in Ireland and the IRFU fighting to keep the star on their books.
The Parisian moneybags club are just one of a clutch of French Top 14 sides, also believed to include Montpellier and Toulon, who are willing to tempt Sexton away from the Heineken Cup champions.
Sexton's current deal, reputedly worth in the region of €300,000, expires next summer and the player and his representatives are already believed to have held two initial meetings with Racing, the last of which was only last Sunday.
Racing, whose owner Jacky Lorenzetti is dubbed the Roman Abramovich of French club rugby, are thought to be keen to offload Puma out-half star Juan Martin Hernandez, which would free up a slot for Sexton.
The IRFU would be unwilling to pay more than €400,000 to Sexton under the terms of any contract renegotiation and their long-standing policy is to refuse to engage in Dutch auctions with their leading players, none of whom have yet decided to swap Ireland for France.
"As with all contract speculation or rumour, we will not make any comment other than discussions are ongoing," said the IRFU in a statement.
Sexton's agents, Platinum One, also refused to comment directly, saying: "There's nothing to be said about his contractual position".
However, Leinster stars Eoin Reddan and Sean O'Brien have pleaded with their team-mate to stay with the club who have won three of the last four Heineken Cup titles.
"I'm assuming he'll stay, I hope he's staying," said Reddan.
"It is difficult for me to be stepping in publicly and giving advice either way. Jonny is a really good friend of mine and I hope he stays.
"I can't stress that enough. I don't know how big or how serious the stuff is, but I'm hoping the news is he is going to be staying.
"I don't really want to get into a more personal situation, if I had a bit more I might say something but I don't know anything more about it."
O'Brien added: "There's always speculation around contract time and I wouldn't read too much into it.
"I don't think there's any prospect of him leaving."