Stuart Lancaster may not have wanted Manu Tuilagi but Worcester Warriors really, really want him.
The Aviva Premiership side are on the hunt for a marquee signing and have reportedly targeted the Tigers, England and British & Irish Lions centre. The 24-year-old, who missed the World Cup due to legal issues is out of contract at the end of the season and is wanted by several top English and French sides.
Warriors are ambitious to establish themselves as a top six side in England and regularly secure Champions Cup rugby. At present, they are sixth in the league and lost to Zebre in the Challenge Cup. The relaxation of the Premiership salary cap has seen sides in recent times flex their financial muscles.
Northampton Saints have already tied up French No.8 Louis Picamoles for next season while Ian Madigan has been linked with big-spending Bristol. The Championship side are also said to be interested in Tuilagi.
Warriors are said to be preparing a €2.3m (£1.6m) three-year deal for Tuilagi. The first year would see him earn €1.05m (£750,000) with €650k (£450k) for the final two years.
Were Tuilagi to make the switch to Sixways, he would be the highest earning rugby player in 2016/17. Dan Carter is set to earn €1m a season with Racing 92 while Matt Giteau takes home €850k a season from Toulon.
Warriors are refusing to comment on the speculation.