Doueihi to sign $2.5 million mega deal
ADAM Doueihi is on the verge of agreeing to a four-year deal worth up to $2.5 million with the Wests Tigers.
Doueihi has decided he won't be taking up an offer from the Sydney Roosters, despite showing a keen interest to join the back-to-back reigning premiers after a meeting with coach Trent Robinson.
South Sydney have already paid a substantial chunk of this year's salary, which will allow the Tigers to chip in about $350,000 for 2020, while the Rabbitohs are also believed to be contributing $50,000 towards his contract next year.
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It still marks an extraordinary deal for the young Lebanon international, who was left with his career at the crossroads after he was forced out of Redfern following Latrell Mitchell's arrival.
It's also a huge win for the Tigers, given not many clubs beat the Roosters in a contract fight, and gaining a young player of Doueihi's potential could potentially change the fortunes of the entire team this year.
The Tigers have also added Canberra's tearaway centre Joey Leilua, and with Doueihi and possibly young Melbourne hooker Harry Grant also joining the club, their roster is suddenly looking strong for coach Michael Maguire.
Maguire has made no secret of the Tigers being portrayed as being in the competition to make up the numbers and he wants the club challenging for titles.
What this has shown, after missing out on Latrell Mitchell, that the Tigers can get a deal done.
The Daily Telegraph understands that while Robinson couldn't guarantee Douiehi a permanent starting spot, he had a really high opinion of him as a footballer and apparently saw his best long-term position at five-eighth.
Part of the Roosters' pitch was that Doueihi would have been able to work with Cooper Cronk over the next two years to develop his game. However, the 21-year-old has ultimately determined that Tigers are his best fit.
Doueihi is likely to be given first shot at the fullback spot, where he performed admirably for Souths last year.
It is understood Doueihi has been absolutely torn trying to make a decision about his future. Over the weekend, he was thought to be ready to take up the Roosters' offer.
The Tigers had attempted to low-ball Doueihi for a paltry saving of just $25,000, which had been a frustration and almost a dealbreaker for the talented backline star.
However, it was the guarantee of a long-term deal and a starting spot that clinched the deal.
It is expected the deal will be finalised sometime on Thursday, given the Rosoters are now out of the frame.
While the Rabbitohs are yet to officially sign off on the release, they have told Doueihi they wish him the best and he is free to join whichever club he sees fit, although it will no longer be their arch enemies at Bondi.
It would have made for an intriguing swap given the reason Doueihi has been forced to chase his career elsewhere is because former Rooster Mitchell's arrival at Redfern basically made Doueihi's position untenable.
While fullback and centre are now considered Doueihi's best chances for nailing down a regular NRL starting spot, the reality is that he has played most of his football at five-eighth and he has the size, skill and athleticism to be equally at home at all positions.
"He has got a tough decision to make and he is genuinely caught between a rock and a hard place for a number of factors," his manager Sam Ayoub said.
"But he is still fortunate to be in this position and he is not taking the privilege lightly."
It's also no secret that Doueihi and his family have been left questioning just how appreciated he might be at the Tigers given they have haggled for several weeks now over the money they were willing to pay.
While Doueihi is on a reported $550,000 for 2020 at Souths, reports suggest the Tigers can get away with paying him just $350,000 for this year but they didn't want to go higher than $325,000.
The Canberra Raiders were also thought to be considering making a late play for Doueihi but at this point are unable to make any moves as they wait and see what eventuates in relation to the serious charges Curtis Scott is facing for his alleged Australia Day antics.
Melbourne were the other club mentioned but the Storm are ready to cut a separate deal with the Tigers, trading exciting young hooker Harry Grant for Paul Momirovski on a one-season swap.
The Tigers can afford to let Momirovski go following Joey Leilua's arrival from Canberra after Leilua made way to accommodate Scott's arrival.