It has been ongoing for a few months
The Cheetahs are fighting tooth and nail to retain the services of Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen, but know they are in a tough tug-o'-war.
Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie, speaking to this website during the team's bye week, admitted they are aware of reports that Goosen has dashed off to France for talks about his future.
According to a report in the local Afrikaans daily, Volksblad, the young Bok flyhalf used the bye week to meet with officials from both Toulon and Racing Metro this week.
Goosen's contract comes to an end in October, and Fourie admitted the Cheetahs will face a fight to keep him in Bloemfontein.
With the ye week the Cheetahs bosses won't have a chance to chat to him until the team re-assembles on Monday.
"We have also seen the reports in the [local] newspaper," Fourie told this website.
He said they have not been sitting idle.
"[Head coach] Naka [Drotské] does the contracting and he has been speaking to his [Goosen's] agent for some time," Fourie said.
"It has been ongoing for a few months. It is not like we are just starting to chat now, we have engaged his agent about his future, looking ahead to the next year or two."
The Cheetahs assistant mentor said they are desperate to retain the services of the 21-year-old, who has been capped four times for his country.
"We know it won't be easy," Fourie said, adding: "No doubt we are doing our best to keep him here [in Bloemfontein]."
There has also been interest in from South African franchises in Goosen's services, with the Bulls reportedly also in talks with his agent.
The Cheetahs also have a mixed bag on the injury front.
Burly midfielder Francois Venter had shoulder surgery and will be sidelined for the next three to four months.
However, Bok prop Coenie Oosthuizen could rejoin the Cheetahs next week, after returning home prematurely from Australasia with a neck injury.
"We'll have a much better idea on Monday [when the team gets together again]. At this stage it does appear as if Coenie will be available for [our game against the Chiefs] next weekend."
By Jan de Koning