Montpellier has received the go ahead from its bosses to prepare a massive bid for out-of-favour All Black first five-eighths Aaron Cruden.

French rugby media outlet Midi Olympique reports that the French club will pursue Cruden with what is being described as a "colossal" annual deal worth $1.25m plus bonuses.

Cruden was once the heir apparent to Dan Carter but Beauden Barrett's scintillating form in the No. 10 jersey has transformed the All Blacks and there is plenty of backup led by Lima Sopoaga, who has superior goalkicking, and the rising star Damian McKenzie.

The 27-year-old Cruden, the Chiefs pivot, is off contract at the end of next year.

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Montpellier will be coached by Kiwi Vern Cotter, the current Scottish coach. Should the 42-test Cruden depart, McKenzie - who turned down the Blues - is the natural replacement for him at the Chiefs.