NRL Rd 23 - Panthers v Storm
PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Jarome Luai of the Panthers runs the ball during the round 23 NRL match between Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm at BlueBet Stadium on August 04, 2023 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Jarome Luai could reportedly be involved in a three-player, two-club swap in an effort to make his move from Penrith happen immediately.

While the Panthers, have, publically at least, been adamant Luai won't be being released from the club with a year to run on his contract, the facts for the move are mounting.

The simple fact is that Penrith's salary cap is stretched to breaking point. It's the key reason they are seemingly more and more likely to lose Luai come the start of the 2025 season from their now three, and by then potentially four-time premiership-winning outfit.

It has been widely reported that Penrith's maximum offer for Luai totalled around $850,000 per year over two seasons, while the Wests Tigers have come to the party with a little over $1.1 million per year over four seasons.

The Tigers are not the only club in the mix for Luai though, with reports suggesting the Canterbury Bulldogs have also made a play, and that Luai's management has now met with the club's director of football Phil Gould.

But the Tigers are reportedly the front runners, with Wide World of Sports reporting that the Panthers are keen on two players out of the Tigers and that it could faciliate the early release of Luai from his contract that runs to the end of 2024.

It's believed the Panthers have their eyes firmly fixed on veteran prop David Klemmer, who has recently reportedly been told he is surplus to requirements at Concord despite having only arrived at the start of 2023, and young gun Lachlan Galvin, who is earmarked for enormous things.

The Tigers have plenty in the way of halves at the club after signing Aidan Sezer, Jayden Sullivan and Latu Fainu for 2024, but they are desperate to turn things around promptly under Benji Marshall, who takes over the head coaching role from Tim Sheens.

The former premiership-winner will likely be aggressive in his recruitment drive, and it's believed that, along with wanting to make a decision by the time he returns for pre-season on December 8, Luai is also leaning towards exiting Penrith.