DRAGONS boss Dean Ryan believes taking back control by returning to private ownership is vital if they are to match the strides being made on the field by developing off it.

The region are currently owned by the Welsh Rugby Union, who bought Rodney Parade from Newport RFC as part of a takeover in 2017.

Dragons chairman David Buttress has long wanted to return to private ownership and a deal with the governing body was close until the coronavirus pandemic led to a delay.

However, a consortium led by Buttress has now officially put in a bid to the WRU and director of rugby Ryan, who is also on the board, is excited about the prospect of being in charge of their own destiny.

“It’s very important,” he said. “I don’t think the news is really a surprise but now things are moving and there is a bid is on the table.

Free Press Series:

“David is leading on that and we want to have more control on the direction that we are taking the region in and secure what the next few years look like so that we can continue to improve the business.

“There are lots of things in play but we are driving the pace of it by saying this is what we want to do.

“I am quite excited, one of the main reasons that I came to the club was to be involved in shaping the direction from a rugby perspective.

“You can see that happening and now we need some things to give us some control off the field and be able to build and plan going forward.

“This will be a big moment for the region because the situation that the region got itself in to be taken over by the governing body in the first place was probably a low moment. Now we are trying to take it into something that would be a lot more positive.”

The hope is that the Dragons will be back in private ownership by next season but Ryan adopted a cautious tone.

“I don’t think that these are things that you can put timescales on but we have had a motivation to do it for some time, now things have got to a stage where they are a bit more formal,” said Ryan.

The Dragons enjoyed a strong finish to the PRO14 and were edged out by Northampton in a tight European Challenge Cup knockout clash.

The likes of Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Aaron Wainwright, Ollie Griffiths and Sam Davies are among those to sign new long-term deals along with bright prospect Ben Carter and Aneurin Owen plus former Wales and Lions stars Jamie Roberts and Richard Hibbard.

They have made just one signing for next season but it is an important one with Wales lock Will Rowlands arriving to bolster the pack.