Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has admitted that the club may lose Steve Mafi if the Tonga forward receives offers from overseas.
Mafi has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining the club as an unknown quantity in 2010. However with his stock rising, Cockerill admits that a good offer may leave the Tigers with no other option but to let him go.
"Steve Mafi is a very different player now to the one who joined us," said Cockerill to the Leicester Mercury.
"If he was English, the fuss people would be making about him would be incredible. To be able to do the things he does at his age would attract huge interest and he would be in the running for a place in the national team.
"Because he is Tongan, the attention he receives is a lot more low-key. As it is, Steve will attract lots of interest from France and especially Japan because that is halfway home for him.
"The money players like Steve could get out there would be considerable.
"Look at Alesana Tuilagi last season. He received an offer from Japan which we didn't even try to compete with because it would have taken up 25 per cent of our salary cap alone.
"It is getting harder and harder to keep the people we have got at this club.
"The salary cap means that, from this year to next year, we could have exactly the same squad. But the players who are out of contract will be 25 per cent more expensive because that is the nature of it. Wages are going up because the market place demands it.
"For each individual, their contract is really important to them and I understand that. But if we add just £5,000 on to each player's contract as a sweetener to try and make them sign again, that adds up to a lot of money.
"The trouble is that the £4.5m salary cap I have to spend stays the same."