Dan Carter has been offered $2.2 million a season to play in Europe as rich French club owners vie with each other for the All Black's signature.
Sources say the spiralling auction for Carter's services is causing a rethink in his camp after the world's best first five-eighths had previously been leaning towards remaining in New Zealand after this year's Rugby World Cup.
Top French club Racing Metro is the latest club to enter the bidding – and have upped the ante considerably with a three-year offer reportedly worth $6.6m. Should Carter accept it, it would be the world's richest rugby contract.
French media report the Paris-based club's multi-millionaire owner Jacky Lorenzetti has Carter as his primary target in his bid to turn Racing Metro into a European "super club".
The deal works out at $42,300 a week for the planet's best player – one the 29-year-old might find difficult to turn down.
Racing Metro's offer dwarfs the "take it-or leave it" $1.48m offered by Perpignan late last year. Carter played for that club during his short French sabbatical in 2008, cut short when he snapped his Achilles tendon after just five games.
Toulouse are also still in the hunt for Carter along with English clubs Bath, Saracens and Northampton. But Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal hasn't entered the battle, believing the price is too high.
Last September, Boudjellal said: "Is this reasonable? 1.2 million ($NZ2.2m) 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."
But that's obviously not the case for Lorenzetti who is building a new 40,000 capacity stadium to replace the club's 14,000-seat facility.
Carter is one of several high profile All Blacks yet to re-sign for next season including captain Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams and Mils Muliaina.
- Sunday Star Times
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