England bad boy Manu Tuilagi is set to become the highest paid player in the country's club premiership history after Wasps and Worcester became the latest clubs to make huge-money offers to the out-of-contract Leicester star.
The 24-year-old England centre, who missed the World Cup through a combination of injury and disciplinary issues, has been the subject of a frenzied bidding war among Leicester's Aviva Premiership rivals, emboldened by the recent $NZ2.3 million salary cap hike.
Last month Saracens offered Tuilagi a deal worth £400,000 ($NZ922,000) a season but that offer has been dwarfed by Wasps and Worcester, who have both tabled deals in excess of £500,000 ($NZ1.15m) a season.
Leicester are desperate to keep their prized asset but would have to tear up their pay structure to do so, making Tuilagi's departure from Welford Road on record money at the end of the season a very real possibility.
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Rugby league convert Sam Burgess last season became the highest paid player in Premiership history when he signed a contract at Bath worth £500,000 but Tuilagi looks set to beat that record. But whatever deal the Samoan-born midfielder signs, it is unlikely to challenge the status of Dan Carter and his agreement with French club Racing Metro which is rumoured to be in excess of $NZ2m per season.
The English Premiership has been flooded with money since the announcement of a £1million increase in salary cap allowance and a new deal between the RFU and clubs guaranteeing increased compensation for producing England players.
Earlier this week, newly appointed England coach Eddie Jones made it clear the recall of Tuilagi to the national team is more than likely.
- Daily Mail