GLOUCESTER are on the verge of signing Wales star James Hook in a sensational coup.
The 75-cap international signed a four-year deal with Perpignan last September but has become available following the Catalans’ relegation from the Top 14.
Hook attracted global interest and it is understood he has had more than 10 offers on the table but the Cherry and Whites look to have won the chase.
He held talks with the club’s hierarchy at Kingsholm two weeks ago and personal terms have been agreed.
The capture of Hook is a major statement of intent from the Gloucester board following the dismissal of director of rugby Nigel Davies.
CEO Stephen Vaughan had previously stated that no further recruitment would take place until a successor was in place but the opportunity to sign Hook was too good to pass up on.
Confirming talks have been held with Hook and his agent Derwyn Jones, Vaughan said: “We’ve been in discussions with James Hook and his agent and I’m very hopeful that something will be agreed and concluded in the next couple of days.”
But it is understood Davies put the wheels in motion after holding talks with Hook’s representatives in March.
Davies was part of the Welsh coaching set-up that handed Hook his international debut in 2006 - before he represented the Ospreys - and Hook was due to meet the former director of rugby the week he was fired.
Davies had earmarked Greig Laidlaw as his primary fly-half, despite the Scotland international playing the vast majority of his rugby at scrum-half.
There were some doubts over that decision but Davies was not enticed by any specialist fly-halves obtainable until he became aware of Hook’s potential availability.
Hook has a wealth of experience at both domestic and international level and toured South Africa with the British Lions in 2009. During this season’s Heineken Cup he bagged a ‘full-house’ in a virtuoso performance at Kingsholm.
He has the ability to play at fly-half, centre and full-back but he will be seen as a direct replacement for Leicester Tigers bound Freddie Burns, with Laidlaw operating predominantly at scrum-half.