Thursday 19 September 2019

Bristol to target Ian Madigan with €500,000-a-year offer

Leinster's Ian Madigan is weighing up a reported €500,000-per-year deal from cash-rich English side Bristol
Leinster's Ian Madigan is weighing up a reported €500,000-per-year deal from cash-rich English side Bristol
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ian Madigan is the latest Irish star to ponder whether his future may lie overseas as he weighs up a reported €500,000-per-year deal from cash-rich English side Bristol, with Conor O'Shea's Harlequins also believed to be taking a keen interest.

Connacht's Robbie Henshaw has ruled out a move abroad; instead the terms of a new deal which he will seek to hammer out with the IRFU in negotiations beginning next month are expected to see him align with Leinster, although Munster maintain some interest.

Should Henshaw arrive at the RDS in time for next season, fellow World Cup midfield star Ian Madigan could be making way.

Madigan was the only unused replacement as Leinster's European campaign all but ended in Bath last weekend and he remains an understudy at out-half in the light of Jonathan Sexton's repatriation, while he is not a first-choice in the three-quarter line.

Madigan was a limited earner until relatively recently - he was on just €80,000 a year before signing his last contract in 2013 - and may be anxious to extend his horizons beyond Ireland as well as testing his credentials as a regular starter.

Bristol are a highly ambitious English Championsiship side, bankrolled by Steve Lansdown who also owns Bristol City. The Andy Robinson-led side have re-doubled their promotion efforts this season after losing out in a May play-off.

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Madigan will be aware that IRFU policy usually denies overseas players international recognition - even if it was relaxed during Sexton's two years with Racing Metro. That Sexton still stands in Madigan's way two years on from signing his last contract may focus this hugely talented player's mind.

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