Maro Itoje could be set to be lured to France in a controversial deal that could see the lock forward still play for England - report The Guardian.

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According to the report, Itoje has been offered a seven-figure deal to join Top 14 giants Racing 92 on a loan deal while Saracens spend a year in the RFU Championship. Itoje is already one of the highest-paid rugby players in the world, but this loan deal could be set to earn the 25-year-old yet more again.

Eddie Jones' and the RFU are thought to be amenable to the deal and were prepared to let Itoje continue play for England. A move to Racing would allow Itoje - an undisputed star of the English game - to continue to play at a high-level, priming him for Test duty and next season's Lions tour to South Africa.

However, Robert Kitson writes that the move is being resisted by rival Premiership club owners, who don't believe the Saracens player should be given the benefit of an 'exceptional' circumstance clause.

Should the deal goes ahead, it will be one of a growing number of loan-deals that Saracens have struck with rival clubs. Ben Earl, Max Malins and Jack Singleton have agreed loan deals that would see them return to North London for the 2021/22 season.

Itoje is one of Saracens' most prized assets and the club are desperate not to lose him.

He was named European Player of the Year and Rugby Players Association Young Player of the Year in 2016 after being part of England’s Grand Slam-winning side as well as helping Saracens win the Premiership and European Champions Cup titles.

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He was ranked in the top 10 performers for turnovers won (15) and lineout steals (6) during the 2018-19 Premiership season.

Concerns have been raised over his discipline however. He amassed four sin-bins in Saracens’ 2018-19 season, two of which came in the Premiership and European Champions Cup finals. By June, 2019, he had conceded 32 penalties in 24 Premiership, European Champions Cup and International matches for Saracens and England.

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