George Williams' sizeable transfer fee imposed by English club Wigan shapes as a significant hurdle to Canberra's interest in bringing the Test half to the NRL.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that Williams was signed and sealed to join the Raiders on a three-year deal from next season.
But NRL.com understands that while Williams has an NRL exit clause in his long-term contract with Wigan, it also contains a hefty six-figure fee that must be paid to the Super League outfit.
Canberra officials remain interested in bringing the 24-year-old, 10 Test international to the nation's capital and enquired about him earlier this year only to be stunned by the figure quoted for his release.
It's believed Wigan initially put a transfer fee north of $AU 450,000 on Williams' head, though Canberra are hopeful that could drop if negotiations continue.
Raiders CEO Don Furner denied the latest suggestions that Williams was already locked into the lime green when contacted by NRL.com.
The club has already brought Williams' former Wigan teammates Ryan Sutton and John Bateman down under through similar transfer fee arrangements, but neither man's release was in the same ballpark as that proposed for Williams.
Jack Wighton will return to the No.6 jumper in this weekend's season opener against the Titans, partnering Aidan Sezer in the halves.
Both Sutton and Bateman are in line to make their club debuts on the Gold Coast, joining fellow Englishmen Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead in Ricky Stuart's line-up.
Sezer re-signed last year until the end of 2020, while back-up playmaker Sam Williams is off-contract at the end of this season.
"I've watched him a bit and he's a class player," Sezer told reporters of Williams on Tuesday.
"Anytime the club is trying to acquire a quality player it's a positive.
"But that's next year, we've got a year ahead of us and we're looking forward to Sunday".