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Rumors have had Samu Manoa leaving Northampton for greener pastures in the French Top 14 for weeks now, but Wednesday Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder added weight to them when he admitted Manoa could well be headed for France at the end of the season. Mallinder spoke with the Northampton Chronicle on the matter.
"He's going to be sought after, is Samu," said Mallinder. "I do know the speculation is right, there's massive interest from France. There's a number of clubs who are really, really after him. I spoke to him and it's more than likely he's going to go to France.
"We've got our salary cap, we'd love to keep him, but there comes a point where you've got to say 'well done, thank-you for what you've done here and let's make sure we have a good season'. He's got to make his own mind up, he's doing that. There are a number of French clubs who will be willing to pay a lot of money for him."
The most talked about landing spot for Manoa would be Toulon, the club world-renowned for handing big contracts to attract foreigners. Rugby Today has heard Manoa could be signing for as much as the equivalent of $500,000 a year. Even if that number proves hyperbolic, Manoa might well end up the highest paid Eagle in history with his next contract.