DEAN Ryan has shrugged off grumbling from the Dragons’ regional rivals about their summer spending, stating that the region have played it smart in the transfer market.

Lions centre Jamie Roberts signed up at Rodney Parade this week, the Dragons’ fourth summer arrival after wing/full-back Jonah Holmes from Leicester, centre Nick Tompkins on a year-long loan from Saracens and Connacht lock Joe Maksymiw.

They are also close to signing prop Greg Bateman, who has left Leicester after a contract dispute, and are keen on Wasps lock Will Rowlands, who made his Wales debut in the Six Nations.

The Dragons have seen Cory Hill and Tyler Morgan leave for Cardiff Blues and the Scarlets respectively while Samoa lock Brandon Nansen and stalwart flanker Nic Cudd have also headed for the exit.

The region’s business amid talks over pay cuts has raised a few eyebrows given that they are owned by the Welsh Rugby Union, who are seeking a £20million loan for the professional game.

However, Ryan was keen to stress that their playing budget – just shy of £5million – is smaller than that of the Scarlets, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys.

South Wales Argus: LOAN: Nick Tompkins will be a Dragon for a yearLOAN: Nick Tompkins will be a Dragon for a year

“It’s interesting what gets said. We work in exactly the same distribution model as everyone else and we already know that we are millions of pounds behind everyone else. Nothing has changed,” said the director of rugby.

“We would welcome any transparency over what is going on. We are happy that we have worked to the same distribution model, we know that already significantly disadvantages the Dragons.

“We’ve just been pretty effective, pretty smart in the market and we have had conversations and what we are doing is resonating with people.

“We’ve not told a story or made a story up (when negotiating with players). It’s been a story about a region recognising where they are.

“It’s a story that has been transparent all the way through. It needs some stability; it needs some players to come in and assist with it.

“We’re always interested when people are talking about the Dragons and where their motives might lie.”

Ryan’s first year at Rodney Parade provided plenty of encouragement with the region looking to ensure they finish above the Ospreys when the Guinness PRO14 is completed at the end of the month.

They also have a European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Bristol but the boss is keen to keep feet on the ground, with a Test-heavy schedule likely to stretch his squad in 2020/21.

South Wales Argus: RETURN: Jamie Roberts in action for Wales against Ireland in the 2013 Six Nations

“It’s important we manage expectation,” he said. “We are not a vastly different group to what we were last year. We’ve added two or three high contribution players during in this period.

“We will still have challenges on depth, we will still have some challenges on experience.

“But every year we will add two or three, we keep moving, we keep growing the group that we have got and challenge them to get better.

“Everybody talks about expectation and it is my job to manage that and keep the place stable and an environment where people can continue to learn.

“Setting false expectation is something the Dragons have been through, the short-term cycles of up we go and down we come again.

“My job is that we are consistent and a better place to continue to learn. I’m not here to dampen it too much and excitement about people like Jamie coming to join us, because it is an exciting time for the Dragons.

“But we have got a lot of work to do. None of us have every hid from that and we never will.”