Saints have confirmed they have 'reluctantly agreed' to sell Louis Picamoles to Montpellier.
The France star was the supporters' and players' player of the season in his first year at Franklin's Gardens, having moved to Northampton from Toulouse last summer.
But Picamoles is keen to return home and will now rejoin Montpellier, his first club, in a deal partially funded by the FFR (French Rugby Federation).
Saints boss Jim Mallinder recently insisted that his club were not willing to sell the player, but Picamoles' desire to leave has forced their hand.
They have made it clear that the money received for Picamoles, who still had two years of his Saints contract to run, will be reinvested into the playing squad for next season.
“I am proud to have played for Northampton Saints and I have enjoyed my time with the club,” Picamoles said.
“I am grateful for all the support and friendship I have received from the club, the coaches, my team-mates and supporters."
Picamoles will join former Saints attack coach Alex King at Montpellier for next season.
And Mohed Altrad, the president of the French club, said: “Louis was the only French international player not playing in the Top 14.
"I am therefore delighted for Louis and the FFR that we have been able to secure his return to France.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for Montpellier to strengthen its squad with a truly world class professional and fits perfectly with our long-term plans for the club. "
On behalf of the club, I look forward to welcoming Louis to Montpellier after his summer tour.”