Sale boss Steve Diamond has dismissed claims he will be paying £1m a season to bring All Blacks star Brodie Retallick to the Gallagher Premiership but confirmed the ambitious club are to spend right up to the £7m salary cap for the first time next season.
Retallick was linked with Sale, who have revived Springbok Faf de Klerk’s career, but the club are targeting more South African international players with prop Steven Kitshoff and Pieter Steph du Toit top of their wanted list while they are keen to bring the three du Preez brothers Rob, Jean-Luc and Dan from the Durban based Sharks to Manchester on long term deals.
Under Premiership rules top-flight clubs can spend £7m on wages with two more “marquee” players allowed to be paid on top of that cap.
Diamond, who brought Chris Ashton back to England from Toulon this season, said: “Retallick! Well, it’s keeping Sale in the headlines. We are not signing Retallick for £1m and we have not even spoken to his agent.
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“I am pleased we are seen as buying club. We currently sit in fifth place in the Premiership and the next four games will decide our season but all of this is a year earlier than I expected. I thought that with the recruitment of the international forwards we are bringing in we could push for top four.”
“Once we get up to the salary cap where most of the clubs have been forever in the Premiership – we are nowhere near it at the moment – then the pressure will be on me. At the moment I am operating at 50-60 percent of everyone else and keep Sale up and always have done. We are going to move away from that and become a club that that is pushing for honours.”
The du Preez brothers are back with the Sharks for the Super Rugby season which means Sale need another outside half to take over from Rob du Preez and that will be the USA’s AJ MacGinty who signaled his return from shoulder surgery by scoring a hat-trick of tries in a 25 point haul as the Eagles defeated Chile 71-8. MacGinty will play for the USA against an Argentina XV and then return on Sunday to Sale to prepare for the Premiership clash with Northampton on February 16.
“That is not a bad way to mark your come back from surgery,” said Diamond. “The timing is great and I have a very good relationship with Gary Gold the USA head coach and he wanted AJ for two games and then he comes back for Northampton – it works perfectly.”
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