EXCLUSIVE: Bath close in on stunning deal to sign Scotland and Lions fly-half Finn Russell from Racing 92 as ambitious West Country target playmaker to drive Premiership title challenge
- Russell set to leave the French capital for a move to the Rec after this season
- Signing of the 30-year-old fly-half would be a powerful statement by Bath
- He was man-of-the-match as Scotland thrashed Argentina last weekend
Bath are finalising terms to sign Scotland and Lions fly-half Finn Russell in a transfer deal which would be a stunning coup for the West Country club and the troubled Premiership.
The 30-year-old has been at Racing 92 in Paris since 2018, but it appears that he will be leaving the French capital for a move to the Rec after this season.
A deal is yet to be concluded but sources have told Sportsmail that talks are at an ‘advanced stage’ and that it is ‘very likely’ that Russell will join Bath as their marquee player — meaning his salary is not included within the cap.
Bath are confident of signing Scotland and Lions fly-half Finn Russell (above)
Bringing in one of the world’s leading creative talents would be a powerful statement by Bath about their ambition to re-emerge as title-challengers. And it would enhance English rugby’s elite league after a period of turmoil.
This season, Worcester and Wasps have gone into administration and will be relegated from the top division.
Other Premiership clubs have also struggled in the aftermath of Covid and a salary-cap reduction has heavily impacted recruitment, at a time when the leading French teams can offer better pay and better prospects of European success.
Thus, the arrival of Russell would add a key box-office asset to the Premiership to help drive interest in the league.
It is understood that he has been a target for various wealthy Japanese clubs, but with a baby on the way he wanted to be closer to home. The move would also allow Russell to foster a club-country alliance with centre Cameron Redpath.
Russell remains one of the most gifted attacking No 10s in world rugby
Russell was controversially left out of the Scotland squad last month — prompting a backlash against head coach Gregor Townsend from public and pundits alike.
But he was eventually recalled and made his mark with a man-of-the-match masterclass as the Scots thrashed Argentina at Murrayfield last weekend.
There has been speculation that Racing are lining up All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett to replace Russell, ahead of Stuart Lancaster’s arrival next summer.
Russell is on a contract worth an estimated £850,000 a season at present, and last year he was reportedly offered £1m a year by Japanese side Green Rockets Tokatsu, a deal which he turned down.