Toronto Wolfpack have succeeded in their bid to land Sonny Bill Williams but been warned they'll have a fight on their hands if they are to add England rugby union centre Manu Tuilagi to their ranks.
The Canadian outfit are splashing the cash following their promotion to Super League for 2020 and are thought to have completed the signing of the 34-year-old Williams on a two-year deal.
The club are expected to announce the signing of the dual-code superstar on Thursday and will unveil him at a press conference in London next Thursday.
The two-time World Cup winner, who played his last match for the All Blacks in the bronze medal win over Wales in Tokyo last Friday, has accepted an offer that will make the highest-paid player in the history of either code.
The deal is said to be worth around STG4.8million ($A9 million), including a stake in the club as they prepare to float shares on the stock exchange.
Just STG150,000 ($A280,000) on his wage will count on the STG2.1m ($A3.9m) Super League salary cap as he takes up one of Toronto's marquee player slots, with the rest covered by the Wolfpack's wealthy owner David Argyle.
Argyle, an Australian mining magnate, has made no secret of his ambition to sign world-class players and believes Williams can have on Super League the sort of impact David Beckham had on the Major Soccer League in North America.
Toronto have also made a play for England centre Tuilagi but his club coach says they are wasting their time.
Tuilagi, 28, a key man in England's run to the World Cup final, rejected a lucrative offer from French side Racing 92 earlier this year to extend his stay with Leicester and coach Geordan Murphy is confident he will reject the latest approach.
"If the Wolfpack want Manu then I am sure they can have a conversation with us," Murphy told BBC Leicester Sport.
"But we don't want Manu leaving. He is world-class and wants to be at Tigers.
"Manu was offered more money to leave last year when the speculation was around.
"He has a family here. He is settled here and he feels like a Leicester player so I don't think he will be going anywhere, anytime soon."
Australian Associated Press