Although Carter signed a four-year contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union before the 2011 World Cup, the 30-year-old does have the option of taking a sabbatical.
And indications are he will enforce that after next year’s Autumn Internationals.
There will be no shortage of suitors for Carter with Bath owner Bruce Craig a big fan while Japanese clubs would be able to more than match any financial package offered in the Top 14.
Yet Carter has a sense of unfinished business in France after his last spell in the country, with Perpignan four years ago, was curtailed by an Achilles tendon injury.
Racing Metro president Jacky Lorenzetti is a long-term admirer of Carter reportedly offering him a £4m, three-year contract after the World Cup but now The Rugby Paper can reveal Toulon’s own multi-millionaire owner, Mourad Boudjellal, has entered the fray.
A source said: “Boudjellal has been in contact with Dan’s representatives so it will probably come down to a bidding war between therm and Metro.
“Metro really want to bring him over and what they have in their favour is that Carter (right) is set to have a young family and Paris would be very attractive in that regard.”
However with Metro struggling in the Top 14, Boudjellal will be able to guarantee Heineken Cup rugby and is known as a man who gets what he wants even with Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau and Frederic Michalak among his current options at fly-half.
Carter’s deal would run along similar lines to his Perpignan deal meaning he would miss the Super 15 in 2014 as well as the June Tests but return in time for the Rugby Championship.
If Carter did join Toulon it would probably coincide with the end of Wilkinson’s career there.
Wilkinson, 33, is considering a one-year extension to his contract.