FFA have admitted it's unlikely that Sam Kerr will return to the W-League this season, despite their big-money offer to lure her back to the competition.
Kerr's decision to leave the W-League to pursue European opportunities - with Women's Super League giants Chelsea the name bandied about most - has seemingly been a long time coming.
Kerr's choice is yet to be cemented to FFA, but head of league's Greg O'Rourke has admitted in an interview with AAP that she probably won't be back this season.
"It looks unlikely that she'll return to play in the W-League this year, but Sam has not or her management hasn't informed us of where she might play," FFA head of leagues Greg O'Rourke said.
The loss of Kerr would be a big blow for the W-League, not to mention Perth Glory's aspirations, which has so far struggled to attract big-name international marquees for the upcoming season.
The competition is also beginning to lose the pick of other Matildas talent, with the likes of Emily Gielnik and Lisa De Vanna also pursuing European opportunities.
As wage standards rise and Europe's superpowers continue to invest heavily in women's football, the opportunities for the W-League to attract top-drawer talent will likely be increasingly limited.
So far, the W-League has managed to attract NWSL superstars like Jess Fishlock to play in the W-League during their offseason, due to FFA's careful scheduling arrangements between the two competitions.
However, Europe's seasons will now overlap with the W-League, pushing the two continents into direct competition for top talent. In response, many W-League clubs, including Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets, are already transitioning towards a heavy youth and production-based approach.
O'Rourke seems to agree that this is the right approach.
"This might necessarily lead to some of our world class players ending up at the world's largest football institutions, but that is a great thing for the game and the players," he continued.
"The challenge for the W-League is to ensure that the gap between its own club operations and the world's leading clubs isn't allowed to become too big and that they remain as attractive destinations."