Maxime Mermoz: Newcastle Falcons to sign Leicester Tigers & France centre
Newcastle Falcons have signed France international centre Maxime Mermoz, who will join the club in the summer.
Mermoz, 30, only joined Leicester on 1 February, providing short-term cover for injured pair Manu Tuilagi and Matt Toomua.
Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards says the signing is "a major statement of intent" from the club.
He added: "We are delighted that a player of such proven calibre is keen to play a key role."
Mermoz has won the French Top 14 title with three different teams and lifted the European Champions Cup twice with Toulon, as well as representing France 35 times - including in the 2011 World Cup final.
"It is no coincidence he has won major trophies with every club he has been at," said Richards.
"He is a very intelligent centre who runs great lines, he has fantastic handling ability and his understanding of the game is first class."
Mermoz scored his first try for Tigers in Saturday's 34-9 win over Gloucester.
"The fact that he will spend the back half of this season with Leicester Tigers is ideal, in the sense that he will already be accustomed to Premiership rugby by the time he arrives with us in the summer, and we are excited by what he will bring to the group," Richards added.
"The fact we have been able to attract a player of his standing in the game says a lot about the regard in which the Falcons are held at the moment."