Barnsley midfielder Stephen McPhail has rejected the offer of a new deal at Oakwell, prompting a string of Championship clubs to chase his signature.
The 26-year-old helped The Tykes to promotion from League One via the play-offs, but has now made himself available on a Bosman free transfer.
Oakwell chairman Gordon Shepherd harbours no ill-will towards the former Leeds United youngster, but believes the club's tight budgetary constraints could have contributed to the decision.
"Stephen has returned a letter which suggests he wants to explore a new challenge. We take that to mean he will be leaving us this summer," Shepherd told the Yorkshire Post.
"It is a disappointment because Stephen is a good player - one of the most elegant I have seen - but you can't blame people for wanting to seek fresh pastures from time to time.
"We know what we can afford to pay. The offer we made to Stephen was quite good but we have to be prudent - there is no way this club is going into administration again."
The Republic of Ireland international had been strongly linked with a move to Hull City, but speculation that boss Peter Taylor will takeover at Crystal Palace could scupper those plans.
Cardiff City, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United have also been connected with the player.
The news may concern the Barnsley board, who are still awaiting for answers on new deals from goalkeeper Nick Colgan, defenders Bobby Hassell and Anthony Kay, winger Chris Shuker and striker Daniel Nardiello.