French media are claiming that England lock Courtney Lawes is in ‘advanced’ talks with nouveau riche ProD2 side Beziers. Midi Olympique list Lawes as the being in ‘advanced’ negotiations with the side which are set to be taken over by deep-pocketed Emirati investors.

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The report lists Lawes alongside a host of possible targets of the club, with some done deals, some hypothetical and some in ‘advanced’ stages. Lawes is listed in the latter ‘c’est bien avancé’ category.

The second row is currently contracted through to 2021, having extended for two more seasons during the 2018/19 campaign. Midi Olympique claim that Beziers would buy him out of his Saints’ contract, potentially at the cost of whopping €1.5 million (£1.37 million).

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Northampton Saints, who have recently reduced all players wages by 12 per cent, could be tempted to stem their financial losses with a bumper payday at the expense of Beziers’ soon to be new owners.

The 31-year-old is currently one of the first names on the current England teamsheet and a move abroad would effectively end his England career.

His ability to play ‘5.5’ for Eddie Jones team has been a huge plus point for the Northampton Saint but he’s at the tail end of an 11-year-England career, and will be 34 by the 2023 Rugby World Cup. If the reports are credible, Lawes could lured by the prospect of a big-money deal.

Born just a stone’s throw from Franklin Gardens, Lawes is the club’s second-longest serving player having made his debut back in October 2007. After reaching the Junior World Championship final with England under-20s in 2009, he would go on to make his senior debut in that year’s Autumn Internationals, and has since made 80 appearances for the Red Rose, including starring in last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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Following back-to-back Grand Slam triumphs with England, Lawes was named in the 2017 British and Irish Lions squad for the tour of New Zealand, where he made two Test appearances.

The Saints Academy graduate helped the men in Black, Green and Gold lift the LV= Cup in 2010 and the European Challenge Cup in 2011, before playing an integral role in both the 2014 Premiership and Challenge Cup victories.

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