Louis Picamoles’ stay in Northampton could be a short one, as reports in France on Thursday are linking him with a return to his homeland.
The number eight is reportedly high on the wanted list of Top 14 side Montpellier, the club where he began his career and made 64 senior domestic appearances before moving to Toulouse in 2009.
According to RMC Sport, Montpellier president Mohed Altrad is determined to make a deal happen, though the deal would be far from straightforward. Picamoles joined the Saints last summer on a three-year deal, meaning that he would have two more years left to run this summer.
Indeed the move would apparently be one of the first of its kind, as it would reportedly be a central contract between Montpellier and the FFR.
The player himself has insisted that he has heard nothing of Montpellier’s interest and is only thinking of his contract with Northampton, telling RMC:
“I do not know.
“I have two years of contract here in Northampton, I have not heard anything about it.”
Nonetheless, his departure would be a huge loss to Northampton were it to happen. The 31-year-old has made a big impact in the Premiership this season, and earlier this week was announced as one of the five nominees for this year’s Rugby Players’ Association Players’ Player of the year award.
Much could depend on Saints’ potential involvement in the Champions Cup next season. They currently occupy the Premiership’s playoff place, but even if they secure that spot they would still have some way to navigate before sealing a berth in the competition.
On the Oval Office rugby podcast this week, we hear from Gordon D’Arcy and Nick Evans, and talk PRO12, Premiership and Lions midfield.