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.’