Warrior Smith in fresh link to Saints
Matty Smith has been linked with a move to St Helens for next season.
Rumours of a return to his hometown club have been simmering for several months, but they have been hosed down.
However, Saints are thought to have made a fresh move for the 29-year-old.
And Sky Sports report he will sign a four-year deal with them later this week after being granted a release from the final two seasons of his Warriors deal.
Saints coach Keiron Cunningham recently admitted he would love him on board, but the fact he was under contract was a sticking point.
“Matty’s a great player and l’d love to have Matty on board, but I’m sure Waney would have something to say about that,” he told League Weekly.
“He’s a St Helens lad and I’d love to bring him back to the club. He’s a champion player and a really good leader.
“But he’s got two more years on his Wigan contract and when players are contracted it’s a really difficult thing to do.”
There were whispers linking Smith with a move to Saints even before Wigan re-signed Thomas Leulaui for 2017.
At the time, Shaun Wane denied the return of the Kiwi ace would force Smith out.
And only yesterday, Smith said: “Whatever happens will happen, but I still have two years left at Wigan.”
But with Leuluai returning and academy-product Jake Shorrocks recently poking his way into the first-team, Wane has plenty of options even if Smith departs.
The Super League signings deadline has passed, meaning he would not be able to make the switch until the end of the season. Smith has been included in the Warriors’ 19-man squad to face Castleford on Friday.
Goal-kicker Smith started his career with Saints after coming through the junior ranks at Knowsley Road, and had spells with Widnes, Celtic Crusaders and Salford before his move to Wigan in 2012. He helped the Warriors to a double in 2013 and cracked into the England side, featuring in the series-winning final Test against New Zealand last year.