Simon Zebo is to leave Munster at the end of the season, the province announced in a press release on Monday afternoon. 

It is not specified where Zebo is headed but the Munster disclosed that "several European clubs" have expressed an interest and offered terms which the province and the IRFU were unable to match. 

The player himself said that Munster moulded him into the player and person he is today but that he had always been drawn to the idea of playing abroad.  

Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said:  "Working closely with the IRFU we put ourselves in the best position possible with an excellent offer, and while we are largely successful in retaining our best players within the Irish system we know it is out of our hands on this occasion.

"We are hugely disappointed to see Simon leave but we wish to thank him for his immense contribution to the province and wish him and his family all the best for the future."

Commenting on the news Simon Zebo said:  "This club has moulded me into the player and person I am today and I will forever be grateful for that.  It has always been my dream to play for my home club, wearing the red jersey while representing my family, friends and local community.

"However, I have always noted the draw to play abroad one day, and in not taking this decision lightly I have decided on what’s best for my family.  With my partner Elvira and two young children, Jacob and Sofia, we are planning for our future and this is the right time for us to make the move.

"As much as I will miss everything about this place – the players, staff, supporters and friends for life – I know there are many more special nights in Thomond Park and Irish Independent Park to be had.  I will continue to enjoy wearing my jersey with pride and will give my all in making sure Munster are successful this season."

Zebo, who turned 27 in March, made his first appearance for Munster in 2010 and became a regular during the 2011-12 season.

He has earned 35 caps for Ireland, making his Test start in the 2012 tour of New Zealand. He has scored nine tries for Ireland, the most recent against the United States in June. 

The Irish Times have reported this evening that Top 14 side Racing 92 are the most interested in signing him.  Zebo's father Arthur hails from the French overseas territory of Martinique and Zebo himself is a fluent French speaker.