Mathieu Bastareaud was at the centre of one of the biggest of transfer sagas last season, as the French centre was linked with a number of different clubs.
The 30-year-old was reportedly in talks with clubs from the Top 14, Guinness PRO14 and Gallagher Premiership, before finally agreeing to a move to the MLR in the US, where he is set to join up with Rugby United New York in December.
He has also agreed to be a joker at Lyon during the Rugby World Cup, with the former Toulon man having lined up in the back row for the French side in preseason, whilst he waits for his move across the Atlantic.
According to Midi Olympique, that move could become a more permanent one after Bastareaud returns from New York, with Lyon keen to bring him in for two full seasons from 2020/21.
Bastareaud has won 54 caps for Les Bleus, but has found himself surplus to requirements for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, with Wesley Fofana and Sofiane Guitoune among France’s preferred centre options, as well as the versatile Romain Ntamack capable of playing at 12.
Lyon have been impressed by Bastareaud in preseason and his former teammate, Frederic Michalak, is currently a recruitment advisor with the club. Per Midi, Toulon would not oppose the signing, with Mourad Boudjellal having previously said he would not stand in the way of Bastareaud’s wishes.
Lyon do not lack for quality back row options, with the likes of Carl Fearns, Liam Gill and Dylan Cretin currently part of their squad, although Bastareaud offers a unique skill set at the position and would add plenty of carrying ability to the group. If the conversion doesn’t take, he is still a more than able centre and could well imitate the role that Levani Botia has so impressively fulfilled at La Rochelle, as a hybrid player between the back row and the midfield.
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