Toulon Keen To Extend England’s Jonny Wilkinson’s Contract

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has made a pre-emptive move to stop other European clubs poaching Jonny Wilkinson by declaring he is prepared to pay ‘any price’ to keep him.

The England (who wears Adidas Predator X Rugby Boots) fly-half has been in vintage form in the early stages of the Top 14 season in France – scoring 102 league points so far, culminating in a sensational 23-point haul to propel his side to victory over champions Clermont in Marseille last weekend.

Wilkinson is in his second season on the Cote d’Azur after signing a contract extension in January, but his deal runs out at the end of this campaign.

Boudjellal claimed the 31-year-old stand-off is back at the supreme level he reached in guiding England to World Cup glory in 2003, and he is leaving nothing to chance in his determination to retain his services.

The multimillionaire comic-book magnate has repeatedly dipped into his personal fortune to amass a multi-national array of talent at Toulon and he is prepared to dig deeper still to hold on to his most prized asset.

‘I want to extend (his contract) and I didn’t wait until after Saturday’s game to begin discussions,’ he said. ‘It’s actually my main priority, but I’m not very worried. The player wants to stay and his president wants to keep him at any price so we should come to an agreement quite quickly.’

Wilkinson has undoubtedly enjoyed a new lease of life since joining Toulon last summer and he is happily settled by the Mediterranean.

Nevertheless, his form will surely prompt renewed interest from other wealthy French sides such as Perpignan, Toulouse and Stade Francais, so it is in Boudjellal’s interests to conclude a deal before the player is free to talk to other clubs in January.

But Wilkinson’s more pressing aim will be to maintain his form in the hope of reclaiming the England No 10 shirt he relinquished at the end of last season’s Six Nations.

The man who usurped him, Leicester’s Toby Flood is out with a knee injury so Wilkinson may find the way clear for a return to the starting XV for the autumn series at Twickenham, which begins with the Test against New Zealand on November 6.  Flood (who wears Nike laser Rugby Boots) Injured his Knee in the Tigers defeat aganist Northampton Saints.