5 Jul 2017

Vatuvei move imminent

7:25 am on 5 July 2017

Salford are hoping to unleash Warriors wing Manu Vatuvei on Wigan in their Challenge Cup semi- final.

Manu Vatuvei celebrates an Anzac test try

Manu Vatuvei Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Red Devils, who are through to their first semi-final for 19 years, are thought to have agreed a deal to sign former Kiwis Test winger Vatuvei - nicknamed 'The Beast' - from the New Zealand Warriors.

It is understood Salford are waiting for the 31-year-old to receive his visa before announcing the signing.

However, they hope to have him in the country in time to make his Super League debut against Leigh on July 21, a week before they play Wigan for a place at Wembley.

Salford have been searching for a replacement for blockbusting winger Justin Carney since parting company with him in May and Vatuvei comes out of the same mould.

The powerful Kiwi was the scourge of England in the 2008 World Cup, after which he was named international winger of the year, and switched his allegiance to Tonga after winning 28 caps for New Zealand.

Vatuvei has also played 226 times for the Warriors since making his debut in 2004 but has appeared only once this year.

He is said to have been weighing up his options after battling shoulder, rib, hamstring and knee injuries over the past three years.

Salford, who lost out to Newcastle Knights in a bid to sign another Kiwi international, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, have agreed a deal with Vatuvei that runs to the end of the 2018 season.

Earlier in the week Warriors assistant coach Andrew McFadded suggested Vatuvei may be leaving the club.

"I've been made aware - I know that Manu's been looking at his options for a little while but certainly haven't known any of the details, and don't know that any deal is done," McFadden said.

"But what I do know is that Manu really deserves to finish strong - if that's here or overseas, I'm not sure.

"I hope he gets to get back on the park soon."