It seems that the English Premiership is really stepping it up a notch in order to complete with the French Top 14. The annual salary cap is set to be increased from £5.5m this year to £6.5m next year and it will be £7m by 2017, following a 40% increase in television revenue.
Northampton Saints have already secured the services of Louis Picamoles for next season and there were reports earlier today that Championship side Bristol are set to make a big money offer to Leinster's Ian Madigan.
The latest player to be linked with a mega move is Leicester and England centre Manu Tuilagi. Reports coming out of Worcester today are suggesting that the Warriors will offer him £1.6m over three years which would see the Samoan-born centre earning £700k in his first season and then £450k in the following two seasons.
If this were to go through, Tuilagi would become one of the highest paid rugby players in the world, and the highest paid in the Aviva Premiership. Dan Carter is currently the world's highest paid player with a rumoured £1.3m salary per year with French side Racing Metro and while that is massive the fact that someone of Tuilagi's profile would be considered worth near that kind of figure is very telling.
The staggering figures in front of Tuilagi represent the massive financial power that English clubs are set to gain over the next few seasons that will make it very difficult for the Irish provinces to compete. Bear in mind that Bristol are a Championship club and Worcester are a mid table Premiership club and the strength in depth that could soon be about to come through becomes very clear.
Alongside Worcester, Bristol and Wasps are also both keen to secure Tuilagi, when his contract with Leicester runs out next summer. Regardless of where he's playing his rugby next season the figures being mentioned are astronomical and they have to be a worry for Irish rugby.