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French club willing to sacrifice players to land Read in French mega-money deal - reports

By James Harrington
All Blacks number 8 Kieran Read. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

All Blacks‘ captain Kieran Read is so keen on a post-World Cup career in Paris that he is even willing to forgo even more money elsewhere, according to reports in France.

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Not that he would go without if he did head to the French capital, if claims in rugby newspaper Midi Olympique are any indication. The paper suggests that Read, which it has described as the greatest number 8 of his generation, would be on similar money to Dan Carter if – as it predicts – he signs for his former team-mate’s old club, Racing 92.

With a RugbyPass Index score of 93, Read is currently the highest rated Number 8 on the planet.

News of Racing’s interest in Read has been swirling for some time. The club is said to have identified him as their top priority before the start of the November internationals. And the 33-year-old has already publicly said that his post-World Cup future lies away from New Zealand.

Read, who is due a well-earned break after a busy November international period, which saw the All Blacks play Japan, England, Ireland and Italy in as many weeks, has been a hot ticket for northern hemisphere clubs for some time. But it would appear that, in the end, his desire for a Parisian pay-day has overcome all other considerations. The rumour is that Carter, Chris Masoe and Ali Williams may have had important roles to play in his decision.

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Reports also say that he has had at least two ‘serious’ offers from clubs in the English Premiership. Those clubs would have been able to offer him even more money than Racing could stump up under the league’s Marquee Player system, which allows them to sign two big-name players without eating into their salary cap.

The club on the outskirts of the French capital, too, is apparently prepared to make a number of sacrifices to land Read on a €1.2million-a-year deal. To keep within the confines of French rugby’s generous, but strictly policed, salary cap Racing are – according to reports – willing to cast contract drains Dimitri Szarzewski, Joe Rokocoko and Census Johnston from their books. Meanwhile, negotiations with other prospective new players – notably Crusaders’ team-mate Ryan Crotty and young French wing Dorian Laborde – have been put on ice.

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If realised, the deal could see Read form a formidable pack unit alongside the likes of Leone Nakarawa, Donnacha Ryan, Bernard Le Roux and Wenceslas Lauret. He would also become something of a mentor for the the prodigiously talented Jordan Joseph.

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