Jamie Roberts - an Amlin Challenge Cup winner with Cardiff Blues in 2010 - is set to spark a bidding war among the big spenders of European club rugby following his decision to leave the Welsh region when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Roberts, a try scorer when the Blues beat Toulon 28-21 at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille in front of a tournament record crowd of 48,990, has ended speculation about his future with a possible move to France the most likely end result.
The Wales and British & Irish Lions centre was named as the Lions' Player of the Series on the 2009 tour of South Africa and is due to win his 45th cap for Wales in Saturday's international against Argentina at the Millennium Stadium
He made his competitive senior Blues debut on the wing in the 17-15 win over the Ospreys in August 2007 and has gone on to make 81 appearances for the region during his six seasons with the senior team, scoring 17 tries.
He played two full games for the Blues during the 2011/12 season and played 15 games for Wales before a knee injury forced him out of action for six months before retuning to action against the Dragons in September.
A medical student at Cardiff University Jamie will sit his final exams during the 2013 Six Nations tournament.
Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland said: "The offer that we made to Jamie was an extremely attractive one and would have seen him become certainly the highest paid player in the Blues squad, and arguably in the UK.
"As a business we simply don't have the resource to compete with the offers that Jamie has received. Naturally we are disappointed that Jamie has decided to leave the region but we wish him the best of luck with his career.
"Given news of Jamie's departure we will begin the search to find a suitable marquee player who will be eligible to play for us throughout the entire season."
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.