Contracted Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce has reportedly been tabled a deal by French club Catalans that would dramatically boost his bottom line.
According to reports from The Daily Telegraph, the Dragons have offered the 32-year-old a three-year contract worth in the vicinity of $600,000 per year.
While the rich deal has been presented as a means for the recent Super League runners-up to cover the loss of Pearce's former Origin partner, James Maloney, a move away from the Hunter appears to be a difficult prospect.
As stated by journalist Dean Ritchie, Newcastle will only be willing to let the ex-Chook take flight if they can find a suitable replacement during the transfer period.
The Novocastrian club has also claimed Kalyn Ponga will eventually move into the halves, but as the shift upfield won't take place in 2022, the case for releasing Pearce has weakened further
Given Pearce remains contracted for another season, the potential to trade Merewether Beach for the white sands of Perpignan appears to be outside of his control.
Ritchie also suggested that while the Knights were aware of the prospect of losing the international representative, conversations between the two parties had not progressed beyond preliminary discussions.
Though a prospective jet north may be off the cards this season, rugby league immortal and Newcastle legend Andrew Johns held the view that should the Knights' impasse be removed, Pearce would do well to undertake a change of scenery.
“I think that‘d be a great opportunity for him,“ the champion halfback stated on Channel Nine.
“South of France, anonymous, weekends off, fly into wherever - it takes you half an hour to an hour to fly all over Europe.
“Less eyes on him, faster, more open game. I think if he decides to go, I think Catalans would be a great fit for him.”
Despite the fact that rumours of this mooted move have been circulating since late August of this year, if Pearce is held to the last year of his deal at McDonald-Jones Stadium, it is not yet known whether Catalans will come again for his services in 12-months time.