Blues' Sam Warburton right to set deal deadline says Tom Shanklin

Sam Warburton in action for Cardiff Blues

Wales captain Sam Warburton would be "stupid" not to join the exodus of Welsh players playing abroad if his deadline to stay at the Blues is not met.

Former team-mate Tom Shanklin says Warburton, who wants a deal for him to stay to be secured this week, should go if the Blues do not meet it.

"All he can do is give the Blues a deadline," said Shanklin.

"After that he is going to look elsewhere and he'd be stupid not to."

The 2013 British Lions captain's contract expires next summer and Shanklin says that Warburton had no choice but to set a deadline for things to be sorted out.

"This is about the time now that you need to start looking for clubs," Shanklin told BBC Wales Sport.

"He's set his stall that he wants to stay in Cardiff. He has given the Blues and the WRU plenty of time and warning about his decision.

"Sam was obviously Lions captain, he's Wales captain. He's going to be a sought after man."

Should Warburton, 25, decide to leave the Blues he would join a host of Welsh stars in exile in England or France.

Last month Lions and Wales stars Jonathan Davies and Ian Evans announced they were leaving the Scarlets and Ospreys respectively, to play in France at the end of the season and Shanklin thinks more will follow.

"I think they'll all slowly get picked off. They're all quality players and Wales are thriving at the moment in the Six Nations," Shanklin added.

"All the top clubs are going to be looking for them. So this year, next year, the year after, players will get poached."

Three current Wales internationals have this season committed to new contracts - Blues' wing Alex Cuthbert, Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar and Dragons number eight Toby Faletau.

But five more experienced Welsh internationals, including Warburton, are out of contract at the end of the season: Leigh Halfpenny, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones and, Alun Wyn Jones.

Shanklin says he would not be surprised if two of them in particular might leave for the continent.

"You can see the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Jones going to France," he said.

"Alun Wyn has probably three or four years left, you want to maximise your earnings, but it is a little bit of a worry when the youngsters are going.

"You want the youngsters to stay in Wales for as long as they can and the older ones to go for a bit of experience a bit of culture.

"So it is worrying. Unless things are sorted soon then there's just going to be a drip of players leaving this country."