UAE investors are set to takeover former French powerhouse AS Béziers Hérault ‘in the next few days’ according to reports the ProD2 club with the club's new owners set to splash the cash with mega signings.
The club held a ‘constructive’ meeting with the new investors on the weekend, whose plan to invest in the side could set in train a major power shift in the French game. Many believe that Beziers could make a similar rise to that of Toulon in French Rugby.
According to a club statement, the two parties met in Paris to discuss the future of the once-mighty club, “in a peaceful and constructive climate”. During this meeting, the current shareholders were reassured about the authenticity of the UAE based investors and their “financial capacity” while the club also confirmed the departure of the club’s majority shareholder, Louis-Pierre Angelotti, from the negotiations.
The new investors are set to wipe away the club’s €5 million worth of debts and invest heavily in star power to push them up the ranks in French rugby with All Blacks star Beauden Barrett and Wales sharpshooter Dan Biggar are said to be high on their wish lists, according to reports from France.
All Black centre Ma'a Nonu is also said to be a potential target for the club. Nonu spent a season in the US with San Diego Legion and is currently an assistant coaching at club rugby side Oriental-Rongotai who had Ardie Savea represent them over the weekend.
French international Benjamin Fall is said to already be on onboard if the deal to take over the club actually goes ahead with Fall having left Montpellier following the abandonment of the 2019/20 TOP14 season.
Midi Olympique say that the side is already in advanced talks with Fall and Nonu as well as Wallabies' winger Marika Korobeite.
England lock Courtney Lawes is also said to be in advanced talks with the side despite being contracted to contracted through to 2021 with Saints. The report by Midi Olympique, claims that the PROD2 club would buy him out of his Saints’ contract, a move similar to the one that saw Louis Picamoles leave Northampton, potentially costing the club a whopping €1.5 million (£1.37 million).
Béziers also look set to capitalise on the Jaguares' telling their players to explore options abroad with no Super Rugby for the Argentine side this year. Loosehead prop Mayco Vivas has been linked to the club while Midi Olympique has reported that Vivas' propping partner Santiago Medrano is in advance talks with the club. The report also states that Matias Alemanno has signed with the club.
Finally, former Crusaders' flanker Jordan Taufua is also in advance talks with the club and is currently turning over for Leicester Tigers.
The LNR salary cap, that applies to both the PROD2 and TOP14, is currently set at €11.3 million with an additional €200,000 allowed per French international, which works out at an average of €275,000 per player in a 40 man squad. There is talks of lowering the cap and allowing marquee signings.