Clermont coach Vern Cotter has claimed his club were Jonny Sexton’s preferred choice in France, but were priced out of a deal by the financial might of Jacky Lorenzetti at Racing Métro.
Speaking to the Auvergne-based daily La Montagne, Cotter, who will become Scotland coach next year, said: "Jonathan Sexton wanted to come to Clermont. We wanted him too. But Racing’s offer was double [€700,000]." Cotter made the revelation as part of a frank interview where he criticised Clermont’s lack of movement in the transfer market, as well as some of his own players.
Following the loss to Toulon in the Heineken Cup final, Cotter appeared to criticise Morgan Parra and Brock James in particular: "I’m sorry I trusted two or three players. My main regret is that we worked on team selection and game management for Dublin with our leaders, and these leaders were absent."
Asked about out-half James specifically, Cotter was damning: "He’s responsible for game management on the pitch and we’re not at all happy with him against Toulon."
Cotter has denied offering to resign in the wake of the controversial interview, however. However, he told PA Sport: "I haven’t resigned. This is unclear. I would like a bit of clarity and I will be ringing my president to see what the situation is.
"Apparently there has been a reaction to an article I gave stating my honest appraisal of how the club should move forward. I’m surprised because we had agreed to move forward to 2014, so I will obviously be asking a few questions. We have had discussions with Mark Dodson and the Scotland management team early on and the club asked me to stay for another year. I don’t know if that position has changed but that will be part of the phone call that I make. The most important thing is to make sure whatever decision is made is done properly."
The Clermont president Rene Fontes, and his board of directors will meet on Monday to decide on Cotter’s future.