Adam Jones' Cardiff Blues departure shows how rich English clubs are "bullying" Wales' regions, according to Blues coach Dale McIntosh.
Former Wales prop Jones, 34, will join Harlequins at the end of the season.
Interim Blues head coach McIntosh says the region were eager to keep him but could not compete financially with the English Premiership side.
"As hard as we are trying to retain players, we are getting bullied by the bigger clubs," said McIntosh.
"It's disappointing, but unfortunately budget is accountable for a lot."
Jones started at Neath before spending 11 years with Ospreys, and signed for Blues in August 2014.
The Abercrave-born front-rower has won 95 caps for Wales, winning four Six Nations titles - including three Grand Slams.
Jones was also part of the Lions tours to South Africa in 2009 and Australia four years later.
However, he announced his decision to quit international rugby earlier this year after failing to make Warren Gatland's Six Nations squad.
Former Welsh international McIntosh says he can understand Jones' decision to join Harlequins.
"Adam has got a family, he's on the downward slope in accordance to the time he's played rugby, so therefore he needs to cash in," he added.
"If that's the right thing to do for Adam, good on him.
"He leaves here with the utmost dignity and respect he had that he came through the door with.
"We need to invest but we need to invest in the future. Perhaps Adam is not the future."