All Blacks star Dan Carter has been accused by Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal of asking for crazy money to play in France.
In a column for French newspaper L'Equipe, Boudjellal says Carter is asking for $2.2 million a year or $42,300 a week to return to France after next year's World Cup.
It's the type of incredible sum only a player of Carter's talent and reputation could command.
But Boudjellal, who has spent millions to take Toulon out of the French second division and get them into the Heineken Cup, claims Carter is going too far. Boudjellal, who is looking to re-sign England playmaker Jonny Wilkinson, says Carter may be pricing himself out of the market.
"Is this reasonable?'' asked Boudjellal. "1.2 million Euros ($2.2m) for Dan Carter a season for a three-year contract?
"Everyone is put off by that price. In the current climate of rugby, this has crossed the line.''
The world's highest-paid player is Sebastien Chabal, who pulls in a cool $1.8m a season from Paris club Racing Metro.
It is believed Carter is looking for a deal to play after next year's World Cup in New Zealand.
His previous stint overseas with Perpignan was disastrous. He snapped his Achilles tendon after just five games.
He has spoken in the past about returning to France but also says he could remain in New Zealand.
In March he told The Press newspaper: "I have always said I would really like to just make a decision after this year, when I know if I am really enjoying my rugby or not.
"If I am enjoying my rugby at the end of the year as much as I am now I can't see any reason why I would want to shoot off straight away.''
But judging by Boudjellal's comments Carter's management are already looking at options and if they can seal a deal in France worth anywhere near $2.2m there is absolutely no chance of him staying here.
If Carter is looking at a three-year deal it leaves it open for him to return to New Zealand in time for the 2015 World Cup in England. By that time he will be 33.
L'Equipe highlighted other star players who could be lured to France after next year's cup.
It listed Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu, Josevata Rokocoko, Shalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Matt Giteau, Rocky Elsom and Pierre Spies.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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