NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have pledged to do all they can to keep star flanker Dan Lydiate as the vultures begin to circle.

The 24-year-old blindside is out of contract at the end of the season and big-spending French outfit Racing Metro are rumoured to be about to offer him a bumper two-year deal.

Dragons director of rugby Robert Beale revealed that he held provisional talks with Lydiate before the back row forward suffered a broken ankle against Edinburgh last month.

He is hopeful that they can convince their star to pen a new deal, but acknowledges that any offer they make could be blown out of the water by French or English rivals.

“I spoke to Danny before his injury and said that as a business we would like to know where he feels his future lies,” said Beale. “If he thinks it lies with the Dragons then it’s up to me to talk to the board to keep him playing rugby in this region.

“We want him here for the foreseeable future and will do everything in our power to keep him here, but we have our limits.

“We will do the best we can, just as we did with Luke Charteris and Aled Brew (who left in the summer for Perpignan and Biarritz respectively).

“But I believe Danny is happy here – he is very much a home bird and his life revolves around rugby here, his family and the farm (in Llandrindod Wells).

“He is at a different stage of his career to Luke and I don’t think he is motivated by finances, but I suppose if someone is dangling big pots of money in front of you it might be hard to resist.

“But at the moment he is firmly fixed on the road to recovery and getting back with Wales so he can throw his hat in the ring for Lions selection.”

Lydiate, capped 27 times, is now being looked after the Welsh Rugby Union’s medical team in a bid to speed up the recovery process.

It is expected that doctors will decide in three months’ time whether to remove a plate that has been inserted into his left foot.

That is a similar situation to the one that faced ex-Dragons full-back Martyn Thomas after he suffered a horror leg break.

It was decided to leave the plate in but Thomas, now with Gloucester, fractured the same leg when he suffered a blow an inch above it on his return.