French club linked with move for Leicester Tigers' Martin Castrogiovanni
French newspaper L'Equipe have reported that Leicester Tigers officials visited Toulon yesterday to discuss the possible transfer of prop Martin Castrogiovanni.
They said the club's top brass met mega-rich Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal in the south of France with the 31-year-old's future at the top of the agenda.
L'Equipe claim Leicester are "ready to negotiate" a possible deal to end Castro's contract a year early and that directors of the club met Boudjellal to discuss the situation.
If Leicester do agree on a financial settlement for Castro, and the popular Italian wants to leave, L'Equipe say he will join the 'Toulon Armada' and compete in a front-row which already has resources beyond the wildest dreams of any Aviva Premiership club.
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Boudjellal has created the richest rugby club in the world and props like Wales' Gethin Jenkins, England's Andrew Sheridan and All Black Carl Hayman are already on Toulon's books for next season.
Tigers refused to comment on the reports.
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill rubbished a report in another French newspaper, La Province, just after Christmas which said Castro had already reached an agreement with the Top 14 side.
While La Province had clearly jumped the gun in their reports on the situation, if Paris-based L'Equipe are right, the possibility of a move for Castro could be on the agenda.
Leicester, though, would require exactly the right deal to even consider letting him go and are in the box seat with Castro still under contract until 2014.
Having been a clear first-choice tight-head when he put pen to paper on that deal back in 2011, Castro has played second fiddle to Dan Cole this season as the in-form 25-year-old Englishman has become one of the first names on the team sheet for the big matches.
If Castro felt he did not want to fight for his place, and were to seek a fresh challenge with the galacticos of Toulon, Leicester would want a hefty transfer fee from the French side to buy him out of his contract.
That would be a considerable amount of money, which would be used to bolster Tigers' squad for next season.
Cockerill said at Christmas that he "would be surprised if Toulon had enough money" to do that and that neither "the player or Toulon have spoken to me regarding any interest".
If L'Equipe are correct, that seems to have now changed.