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Rugby is heading towards transfer fees like Manchester United's £89m Paul Pogba purchase, claims Bristol owner Steve Lansdown

Joe Hall
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Hull City v Manchester United - Premier League
Point the way: Rugby could soon follow down the path that led to an £89m Paul Pogba (Source: Getty)

Rugby could one day feature multi-million pound transfer fees akin to the record-breaking £89m Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba, according to Bristol's billionaire owner Steve Lansdown.

The co-founder of financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown believes rugby will soon have its first £1m player as clubs increasingly chase "glamour signings".

Lansdown, whose backing helped Bristol return to the Premiership following a seven year absence, has argued that players and agents are increasingly resembling football with their financial demands.

Read more: Wasps make Kurtley Beale the highest paid player in Premiership Rugby

"The market is dictating these glamour signings," Lansdown told the Daily Mail.

"I'm sure the first million-pound player isn't that far away... Football is so far ahead in monetary terms but rugby is creeping that way with the expectations of players and agents.


Wasps' Australian star Kurtley Beale is expected to earn up to £750,000 a season (Source: Getty)

"TV money is going up and agents are demanding longer contracts which develops a transfer market. When you see Manchester United paying £89m for Paul Pogba, you realise there's a long way to go, but it could still go that way."

Premiership Rugby clubs are currently restricted in how much they can spend by a salary cap of £6.5m this season and £7m in a year.

Wasps have made a series of expensive high-profile international signings this summer including Springboks full-back Willie Le Roux, Wallabies back line polymath Kurtley Beale and England enigma Danny Cipriani.

Lansdown admits he would be similarly interested in landing big name players, citing double World Cup-winning All Black Ma'a Nonu, currently one of Toulon's collection of stars, as a coveted signature.

"Of course, we'd like to attract someone like Ma'a Nonu," he said. "The ambition is to get the best possible players on our pitch."

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