The mercurial 33-year-old Johnny Warren medallist is heading back to China after receiving a lucrative offer described as too good to refuse.

It’s a major blow for the Sky Blues who will look to use their remaining visa spot to lure a new marksman to the club.

Sydney CEO Tony Pignata said the club’s three-week preseason tour of Italy next month would provide the ideal opportunity to run the rule over potential candidates.

“Disappointed is a nice word to use to be honest,” Pignata told 2MM Soccer Stoppage Time after the news broke on Twitter.

“Unfortunately he got a really good offer and good luck to the lad. It’s a good deal for him but we’ll just go out and get another striker.”

Griffiths had successful stints at Beijing Guoan and Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League before signing with Sydney halfway through last season.

He made an immediate impact for the harboursiders but was controversially rubbed out for three matches for abusive language toward a match official.

“We got Joel last year and before he got suspended, he scored three in three,” Pignata said.

“Joel’s just as gutted as we are. He and his family have really settled in, they’ve had a new baby, his friends are here and he’s really enjoying life in Sydney.

“But he said to me, ‘Tony there’s no way I can knock an offer like this back at my age’. And we’re not going to stand in his way.

“So good luck to Joel and hopefully things work out. If they don’t, the door’s always open.”

Sydney were building a formidable attack ahead of the 2013/14 campaign with veterans Griffiths and Alessandro Del Piero heading a youthful line up including Young Socceroo Corey Gameiro, Joel Chianese and Panama international Yairo Yau.

Now it’s back to the drawing board for the harboursiders, who will be look to bring an experienced and proven goal-scorer into the attack.

“(Griffiths) will be hard to replace but one door closes and another one opens,” Pignata said. “We’re off overseas – who knows who we can bring back.

“We’ll see what available overseas when we go there. There’s a lot of talent around and we’ve got visa spots and now we’ve got some cap left.”

However Terry Antonis could soon be rejoining the Sky Blues, with his $300,000 Italian move to Serie A side Parma reportedly falling through.