Super Rugby franchise the Blues could benefit from Japanese Top League club Kobe Kobelco Steelers recruiting former Chiefs and All Black flyhalf Aaron Cruden.
Cruden is set to leave Montpellier after he serves as cover for Handre Pollard during the Rugby World Cup and has been linked with a move to Kobe Kobelco Steelers.
A report in the New Zealand Herald suggests that Kobe have already signed Cruden. Kobe already has Dan Carter and Sunwolves flyhalf Hayden Parker on their payroll.
Former Highlanders No 10, Parker, has starred for the Sunwolves over the past two years and has been one of the accurate placekickers in world rugby. Parker has one year left on his contract with Kobe but could leave the club a year early to return New Zealand with Cruden reportedly signing a two-year deal which could be extended by a further two years.
The first five-eighth has since been linked with the Blues, who remain hopeful of signing All Blacks star Beauden Barrett but are planning for several contingencies.
The Blues have playmakers Stephen Perofeta, Otere Black and Harry Plummer on their books but the Blues are still yet to truly replace Carlos Spencer. Perofeta is also viewed as a potential fullback.
Parker won't play for the Sunwolves next year, their last in the competition, because the Japanese top league has been pushed back due to this year's World Cup and will start in January, meaning it clashes with Super Rugby.
In an interview with Stuff in April, Parker said his preference was to return to New Zealand. "I would love to [come home]. But I just don't know if it will all work out," he said.
Parker's return to the Highlanders seems unlikely as the Highlanders are chasing Mitchell Hunt and have Josh Ioane and Bryn Gatland got on their books.
One thing that could persuade Parker to remain in Japan is the fact that he is on track to become eligible to play for Japan and could make the squad for the World Cup in France 2023.