Cyclingnews understands that Team Sky would also like to sign Cavendish's key lead-out men Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw. However, both are under contract with HTC-Highroad for 2012 after agreeing new deals at the end of the 2010 Tour de France.
Under UCI rules, riders and teams cannot announce new contracts until August 1. However, the Daily Mail claims Cavendish will earn £1.5 million a year, doubling his current salary.
Team Sky was created with the goal of winning the Tour de France within five years but after a difficult first year, the British team has now set wider goals. Team manager Dave Brailsford has always refused to comment on possible rider signings but is rumoured to planning a major overhaul of its squad for 2012.
Cyclingnews understands that Cavendish’s current contract with HTC-Highroad prohibits him from talking about any future team.
He is currently riding the Tour de Suisse and responded to the news via Twitter, saying: “As always, I can't go 1 race without some sort of shit going on. At least it's not a crash this time! I will say I'm committed ….@HTCHighroad until the end of this year, and I'm concentrating now on ~TourDeFrance. Also, please note, all quotes are 9 months old.”