Jonathan Sexton should stay put at Leinster despite appeal of Racing Metro move

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton should stay at Leinster despite the obvious appeal of moving to cash-rich Racing Metro

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Jonathan Sexton's future remains in the balance after it emerged the Ireland fly-half met with Racing Metro to discuss a lucrative move earlier this month - but ultimately he will commit to Leinster.

The 27-year-old is reported to have been offered an eye-watering deal by the Top 14 side, with the IRFU doing their "darndest", in the words of Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt, to conclude a deal.

"It would be great for Jonny if it got sorted out in the next week. I just don't think he needs it heading into the Six Nations. I really hope that one way or the other - one way, to be honest - it is sorted. Hopefully it'll play out in the next week or so."

According to reports, Racing have offered Sexton a salary worth between €700,000-750,000 per year, with the French side planning an assault on Europe's elite over the coming seasons, and as a result, have already started a recruitment drive.

For any young, ambitious player, the chance to be part of an exciting project must be tempting. But ultimately, Sexton should have stayed with Leinster, who have plenty to offer themselves.

The Dublin-born star is playing for his local province, which means that he has emotional ties rooted to the club, with an adoring fan base. It would be difficult to turn his back on such unwavering support for what would be a demanding and an expectant French crowd.

It's not as if Leinster have endured a barren run either - there's been an abundance of silverware in recent seasons and surely more to come - with Sexton on board, it would only solidify their title credentials.

He was part of their Heineken Cup winning sides in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and Leinster have the opportunity to push on and really cement themselves as one of the all-time great European sides.

While Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland's greatest-ever, is in the twilight of his career, there are plenty of others ready to inspire Leinster to success.

There is 2012's European Player of the Year Rob Kearney, current Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip, the enigmatic Luke Fitzgerald and man mountain Cian Healy. Sexton is - and would continue to be - another crucial piece of the Leinster jigsaw.

Another persuasive factor is the tax incentive which was introduced by the Irish government to help the likes of Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster (and other sport clubs) keep hold of their best players.

Effectively, if an Irish player plies his trade in the country for a period of ten years (it must be continuous), he will receive a significant tax rebate (to be capped at €350,000) at the end of the period. Not a bad way to end a career - and certainly a reason for Sexton to stay having made his debut in 2006.

That's the financial side. Back to the personal, he became engaged to his long-term girlfriend towards the end of 2012, and with a wedding presumably on the horizon, staying in Ireland would certainly have its draw there.

Sexton's flirting with Racing Metro, and his apparent meeting with club officials, could merely be a tactical move in tense negotiations with the IRFU, akin to Brian O'Driscoll. The former Ireland captain was memorably spotted in the Biarritz crowd to encourage the IRFU to up their offer.

But whether he is genuinely contemplating a move to Racing or not, Sexton will ultimately decide to stay put. While being part of an exciting new era at Racing would certainly have its appeal for the young fly-half, it's hard to see how it could top winning domestic and European trophies at your boyhood club with your close friends (and Irish colleagues). For Sexton, he's already living the dream and the prospect of him quitting Leinster is unfathomable.

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