A Canadian rugby league club have set their sights on cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams, saying they will pay “whatever it takes” to get the All Black signed for 2020.
Fox Sports Australia reports the Toronto Wolfpack, who play in the UK Championship, have offered Williams around $5 million to swap codes again after meeting with his agent in the Middle East last year.
Toronto’s billionaire owner, David Argyle, said it was a one year deal with part of the salary exempt under the competition’s marquee player rules.
“We are working towards making Sonny Bill Williams a Wolfpack player for 2020. We would love to have him join the Wolfpack family and we will pay whatever it takes to make that happen,” Argyle said.
“The excitement he would bring to the sport of rugby league in this country would be incredible.
“Having someone of his talent join the Wolfpack would greatly raise the profile of the club, but also help move the game forward globally.
“Sonny is a phenomenal athlete. He is rugby’s LeBron James and we see his recruitment as bigger than when David Beckham joined LA Galaxy. He is box office and puts bums on seats.
“It may be one of his last seasons and I am sure that rugby fans – whether league or union – across North America will travel to Toronto to see a player of his quality represent the Wolfpack.”
Williams’ manager Khoder Nasser said he didn’t want to add fuel to the flames with a comment with the 33-year-old facing a big year in his career.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to distract Sonny from what is a monumental season for him,” he told Fox Sports Australia.
“My priority is to make sure Sonny is focused on this year with the Blues and making the All Blacks squad. What is to come afterwards will take care of itself.”
Toronto’s big move comes after they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Super League last year, despite winning the UK Championship.