Manu Tuilagi has kept his England career alive after Sale Sharks completed a sensational swoop for the powerhouse centre.
The 29-year-old has agreed a one-year contract to move to Manchester and remain eligible for England selection, amid reported interest from France.
2013 Lions tourist Tuilagi formally ended his long 14-year tenure at Leicester last week after Tigers stuck by their terms for a pay cut to his £500,000-a-year salary.
Tuilagi is understood to be weighing up legal options for breach of contract, as Leicester seek to repay the difference on pay cuts to players once they post a profit in a financial year under new terms agreed with their squad.
Tuilagi, Telusa Veainu, Greg Bateman, Noel Reid and Kyle Eastmond ended their employment with Leicester last week – with full-back Veainu signing for Stade Francais in the Top 14.
Capped 43 times by England, Tuilagi could now form a centre partnership at Premiership title challengers Sale with Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
“We contacted Manu’s agent and Leicester Tigers last week to discuss the player’s current position,” Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond explained.
“After discussions on Friday (July 10), all parties – Leicester Tigers, Manu Tuilagi and Sale Sharks – agreed that the player was a free agent and was able to enter into negotiations with another club.
“Manu will be a fantastic commercial and playing addition to our squad and I am looking forward to seeing him join up with the lads at Carrington this week.”
Seven appearances away from reaching the 50-cap milestone with England, Tuilagi’s choice to stay in the Premiership means he will not be in dispute of the RFU’s selection policy which prevents overseas-based players from being available.
The subject of interest from Racing 92 last year, reports of interest from France resurfaced recently following the takeover of Pro D2 side Beziers by Emirati billionaires.
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