But the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), who have posted a financial loss in the past two years and have seen the number of All Blacks heading to the northern hemisphere increase, dealt a blow to the plans of the 81-Test veteran.
"I wasn't after anywhere near what I was on before I left three years ago," he told the Sunday Star-Times. "But we didn't even get to the stage of negotiating money because basically they told me they had none so could not afford me."
Last week, Nick Evans, Caleb Ralph and Craig Newby announced they were leaving New Zealand at the end of the year, while Jerry Collins has been linked with several clubs in the northern hemisphere and has said he is interested in playing abroad at some stage.
Toulon have set their sights on Dan Carter, reportedly offering him a New Zealand Dollar 1.4 million basic contract, a New Zealand Dollar 200,000 non-negotiable bonus plus extra money for the use of his image in advertising campaigns, for a six-month stint which would start after the All Blacks' end-of-year tour and finish prior to next year's Tests in June.
"It's amazing how many players are leaving," said Marshall. "So I was a little shocked they basically turned away a guy wanting to reverse the exodus and give back to the game in New Zealand some of what I had learned."
NZRU general manager of professional rugby Neil Sorensen said: "While we recognise the value of having experienced players return to New Zealand, we also have to balance that against the importance of retaining those players already in New Zealand, including current All Blacks and experienced players, and those players coming through the system who will be our future All Blacks."