Japan’s Top League is hoping to lure England star Maro Itoje as it pursues its soaring ambition of becoming the world’s leading rugby competition, its chairman told AFP.
The well-heeled league has swelled its ranks of foreign players since the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, with New Zealand’s two-time World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett chief among them.
Finn Russell has also been recently linked with a move to Japan, but it seems itoje has priced himself out of a move.
The England lock, who was linked with a move to the Top 14 when Saracens were relegated, would demand a huge salary plus bonuses, according to Racing 92 owner Jacky Lorenzetti.
Asked if Itoje wanted too much money, Lorezetti told rugbyrama.fr : “Yes, it was unpayable.
“You know, we weren’t the only ones at the time: Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier were all called upon. We were talking about a salary of over £1m plus bonuses.
“That represented 10 per cent of our payroll. We made the choice not to go any further. I think he doesn’t want to move, so they come out with ridiculous demands.”
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Premiership’s highest paid player each season from 1998 to 2022
1997-1998: Va’aiga Tuigamala (Newcastle Falcons) – £80,000 per season
1999-2000: Francois Pienaar (Saracens) – £85,000 per season
2000-2001: Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks) – £180,000 per season
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