Leicester Tigers: Club close in on two deals but Barbieri set to leave

Robert Barbieri
Italy international Robert Barbieri has made 19 appearances for Leicester Tigers this season

Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen has said the club are close to sealing deals for London Welsh back-rower Lachlan McCaffrey and Waratahs winger Peter Betham.

Betham, 26, has won two caps for Australia, while McCaffrey, 25, is an ex-Wallabies Under-20 international.

Cohen said Tigers were "not a million miles" from completing the deals.

He also admitted there was a "real possibility" flanker Robert Barbieri will leave at the end of the season.

Italian international Barbieri signed from Treviso in May 2014, and has made 19 appearances this season.

"We don't have enough money to go round," Cohen told BBC Radio Leicester.

"To retain Robert will be quite difficult and I think there's a real possibility he'll go back to Italy."

Winger Betham, who made his Test debut against New Zealand in October 2013, scored his first international try against Argentina in September last year.

"We're not a million miles from getting that deal done," Cohen added.

"I think everybody recognises that we are probably looking for a midfield player.

"We wouldn't necessarily be averse to spending some money on that player, we just have to get the right person at the right place."

Sydney-born McCaffrey has made 14 appearances for Premiership strugglers Welsh this season, whose relegation from the top flight was confirmed by their 18th straight defeat by Bath.

McCaffrey joined Welsh from Super 15 club Brumbies in June 2014.

"We're talking to him and that's not a million miles away from getting done," said Cohen

"He's a pretty versatile player and pretty athletic.

"[Head coach] Richard Cockerill has a great track record of taking people that have been a little unheralded and turning them into really good Premiership players, and I think he'll be another one."

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