DRAGONS boss Dai Flanagan is eyeing up to seven summer signings after giving new recruits the hard sell.

The Rodney Parade club have secured contract extensions with Wales internationals Aaron Wainwright, Rio Dyer and Taine Basham but are yet to announce any arrivals for next season.

The Dragons will stick to within the £4.5million salary cap – they are allowed to have two marquee players above that figure but won’t – and head coach Flanagan has been in talks with a raft of players.

"Ideally we are looking at seven new faces. Between four and seven would be great,” he said.

Given that they are involved in a scrap to avoid finishing bottom of the United Rugby Championship, the boss admits that has its challenges.

“I don't mind being honest, try selling a club who have continually finished fourth out of the Welsh regions at the bottom of the league to people,” said Flanagan.

“To recruit players takes work and energy, and belief in what we are trying to do as well. If I walk into a room with a player and try to sell them a product that I don't believe in, they will see straight through it.

“Me and the owners are aligned, we have a three-stage plan and have been very clear with every person that we have met on where we are.

“I have been vocal on what my task has been this year; alongside trying to compete there have been other priorities as a business. That will change next year, and that will take investment, alignment and belief.”

South Wales Argus: STAYING: Wales star Aaron Wainwright has signed a two-year contract extensionSTAYING: Wales star Aaron Wainwright has signed a two-year contract extension (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Deals with Wainwright, Dyer and Basham mean that money is tight and there are set to be some notable departures this summer.

Argentina scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou has already left on loan to Cardiff and plenty of other players will have to either leave or agree to stay on reduced terms.

The Dragons aren’t blessed with a big chequebook but Flanagan is confident they can attract players to improve results.

“If you spend your money wisely in today's market then you can get the right players,” said the head coach.

“For us to achieve better results and be a better place then we need the right players. I believe we have done that and we are still doing that.

“We have had our A, B and C [recruitment] plans, it's been ongoing most of the year because we have known what our task has been this season and how quickly we need to change the perception around Gwent rugby by winning more games.”

The recruitment drive has been boosted by the fact that Wainwright, Dyer and Basham have signed fresh terms.

“Would those players have had better [financial] offers? For sure, 100 per cent,” admitted Flanagan.

“The fact they have chosen to stay is a big ‘well done’ to our owners because they have shown where we want to get to and what they are doing.”

The Dragons were owned by the Welsh Rugby Union from 2017 until September when chairman David Buttress, David Wright and Hoyoung Huh completed a takeover deal.