IMAGINE a scenario, Taulupe Faletau or Dan Lydiate is on the market and the Dragons are told that there is a flicker of interest in a return to Rodney Parade.

The history and fondness for the individuals makes it tempting. They are two absolute legends with number eight Faletau the Dragons’ greatest ever player and blindside Lydiate not far behind.

Go for it with the big sell or politely decline? Reluctantly the latter. The region is in a position where there should be a block on back row recruitment for at least three years.

It’s that time of the season when the plotting for 2020/21 starts in earnest.

When it comes to retention plenty have signed new deals, others are in the pipeline, some players are getting the feeling they might be on the move.

When it comes to recruitment, CVs are flying around and the lucky ones are set for a bidding war for their services.

South Wales Argus:

It’s fair to assume that Dean Ryan’s first transfer drive is going to be quieter than his predecessor Bernard Jackman’s first dip into the market, which saw 14 new faces arrive.

New funding deal between the regions and Welsh Rugby Union is set to boost the Dragons’ budget (they will still be playing catch-up) but the change won’t be quite so dramatic as 2018.

Director of rugby Ryan has made no secret of his need to work and improve the current crop in order to drive progress, yet that must be married to strong recruitment.

The director of rugby has been assessing those on the books and plenty of fates will already have been sealed. He will know his team’s areas of weakness and will try and address them.

Waste is damaging when working with a small budget; while Leinster, Munster or Glasgow can shrug off a bad decision, the Dragons are hugely impacted by them.

That’s why Ryan has to act like a Panini sticker dealer in the playground – ‘Got, got, need!’.

The Dragons can’t stockpile and have to focus on a handful of key positions rather than getting distracted by talented players that are available in their areas of relative strength.

That happened when Jackman and chairman David Buttress wanted to make a statement signing in their first season.

South Wales Argus:

As I’ve written before, Ross Moriarty is a fantastic player and undoubtedly strengthens the side. It’s not his fault but the coup of signing the 2017 Lions tourist was a daft and costly move.

It’s one that shouldn’t be repeated for a long time given the Dragons’ record for producing back row forwards.

The 18-22 bracket for the current senior squad includes, remarkably, Aaron Wainwright (22) along with Taine Basham (20), Lennon Greggains (20) and Ben Fry (21).

The 23-28 cohort features James Benjamin (25), Ollie Griffiths (24), Harri Keddie (23), Moriarty (25) and Huw Taylor (23).

The 29 and over group contains just Lewis Evans (32) and Nic Cudd (31).

Locks Cory Hill and Max Williams, who can both slot in at blindside, are 27 and 21 respectively.

The Dragons should be covered in that department for the next five years… and here’s a prediction, more youngsters will come through to add to the selection headache.

If anything they should be braced for players moving on in search of game time and sparking cries of ‘how did they let him go?’, because the region has talented back rowers that could thrive elsewhere.

Flanker Sam Lewis, who signed for the Dragons in 2014 only to change his mind and stay at the Ospreys, has become a firm favourite at Worcester. All of the Rodney Parade options at 6, 7 and 8 have the talent to do likewise.

Everybody is feeling the pinch at the moment and having to make tough decisions, hence Kyle Sinckler potentially being on the move from Harlequins and other Premiership clubs having to choose which of their England internationals to let go.

The Dragons don’t have the riches of such organisations but they have to be just as focused, arguably even more focused.

Back row isn’t a problem but depth at lock, prop and back three is, possibly more competition for Rhodri Williams at scrum-half.

Ryan, unlike so many of his predecessors, is able to say that he has fly-half sorted thanks to Sam Davies settling so impressively since heading east from the Ospreys. He is first choice and Josh Lewis will return to keep the Wales international honest.

After getting 10 sorted the big priority has to be lock and ideally bringing in an overseas bruiser who will be there week in, week out.

Warren Gatland spoke about durability being a factor when choosing his props for the World Cup and the same must be the case when Ryan casts his eye over potential recruits.

Nobody is immune from injury misfortune but some players seem to rack up the games, others are as reliable as an Alfa Romeo.

South Wales Argus:

Sadly Samoa international Brandon Nansen, who possesses many of the attributes the Dragons need at lock, falls into the latter category with just 12 appearances since arriving in 2018.

Contrast that with Rynard Landman, whose racked up 111 games in four seasons until falling out of favour with Jackman.

A similar figure would be welcome in the back three, where the Dragons are down to the bare bones because of injuries to Jordan Williams, Jared Rosser and Dafydd Howells.

The next generation is promising but raw and, strange as it may sound for a position of speed, a Steady Eddie could be a good fit.

It’s easy to get tempted when players come on the market but the Dragons don’t need luxury signings.

They don't need a stellar scrum-half, they need one to push Rhodri Williams really hard.

They don’t need to break the bank for a prop, they just need more dependable options on either side to avoid being susceptible to injury and Leon Brown’s international absence.

Another centre shouldn't come at the expense of a winger while any hooker will be third in the pecking order behind Elliot Dee and Richard Hibbard.

A couple of astute signings combined with the development of the region's next generation can help Ryan’s Dragons slowly make progress in Year Two where Jackman, who was a man in a hurry, sadly came a cropper.