Cardiff City skipper Graham Kavanagh has signed for Wigan in a shock sale due to financial problems.
Championship title chasers Wigan are believed to have paid close to £400,000 for the Republic of Ireland midfielder.
"I'm delighted to have joined the club at such an important stage of the season," said the 31-year-old, whose contract runs until the summer of 2007.
Further departures from Cardiff could follow, with rumours concerning Peter Thorne, James Collins and Jobi McAnuff.
Nottingham Forest have been linked with striker Thorne, West Ham are keen on Wales defender Collins, while wing Jobi McAnuff is another thought to be in demand.
Bluebirds manager Lennie Lawrence told the club's website: "The financial situation at the club has necessitated the sale of Graham Kavanagh to Wigan."
He had claimed on Thursday that no player would be sold before the weekend, but it now appears that a fire sale is underway at Ninian Park.
Kavanagh was Cardiff's first £1m purchase in 2001 and he has been a driving force in the Bluebirds' rise.
"He has been a fantastic player and a great captain for the club as well as a leader on the pitch," said Lawrence.
"It is with a very heavy heart that everybody at this club says farewell to him and we all wish him well for his future football career.
"Graham can leave with a totally clear conscience, because the fact the club accepted the bid took him totally by surprise.
"However, a very quick decision was necessary and it is one we had to make.
"It will have a demoralising effect on the other players, but I believe we can avoid relegation without him as we have had to go long periods without him previously due to injury."
Former Middlesbrough, Darlington and Stoke player Kavanagh revitalised his international career at Cardiff, earning a recall from Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr
His departure could be just the first exit as Cardiff chairman Sam Hammam bids to fend off the club's financial crisis.
Ninian Park players and staff have not been paid this month as the club struggles to honour a wage bill believed to be £750,000 a month, while auditors are looking at possible cutbacks.
Many of the financial problems are thought to result from delays in the schedule to build a new stadium for the Bluebirds.
Kavanagh, who is expected to make his Wigan debut against Ipswich on Saturday, won praise from Latics manager Paul Jewell.
"Graham is a player with a fine reputation that I have admired for a long time," he told the club's website.
"I feel that he is a little different from the other midfielders we have here and that he will be as successful here as at his other clubs."
Jewell is believed to be close to another high-profile signing, rumoured to be Reading striker Nicky Forster.