IF Jamie Roberts ends up at Rodney Parade then it's because a return to Cardiff Arms Park is not possible. Come to terms with that fact, it doesn't make the signing any less attractive for the Dragons.

For all Nick Tompkins talks about excitement at the challenges that lie ahead in his year as a Dragon, the outside centre would still rather be spending the next 12 months in the English Premiership with Saracens.

Instead Sarries will spend 2020/21 in the second tier leaving Tompkins to have a gap year in Wales to boost his international, and maybe even Lions, hopes.

That a player has a fondness for home is wonderful; we'd like to think Taulupe Faletau, Luke Charteris and Dan Lydiate feel the same.

There's no harm in being the fall-back option, as long as the commitment is total when the contract is signed.

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The Frank Hennessy lyrics don't quite apply for Roberts – he is Newport born, Cardiff bred – but the centre is a man of the capital despite a few months in Allt-yr-Ynn in 1986 and 1987.

He played for the Blue and Blacks as a young full-back rather than the Black and Ambers, then he became an Arms Park legend in midfield.

Roberts may have made just 86 Blues appearances between 2005 and 2013 but that was down to his Test importance.

He was an Anglo-Welsh Cup winner (when the tournament mattered) in the 50-12 rout of Gloucester at Twickenham then crossed for a try in the European Challenge Cup win against Toulon.

Roberts left for France and Racing 92 in 2013 and has since played in England for Harlequins and Bath before a brief South African spell with the Stormers this year.

At 33 he believes he still has plenty to offer both on and off the field, and he has gone on the record at wanting the final years of his career to be back at the Arms Park.

"I told myself as soon as I left Cardiff I'd want to play there again before I finish my career," he told the Rugby Paper in March.

"I want to give back to Welsh rugby as a player or even after I've retired.

"The Blues gave me so much not just as a player, but as a person. They allowed me to play for Wales. I'd love to take them back to where they deserve to be, because they aren't there.

"They are a capital city side, but they aren't at the top table at the moment. They are a club who should be. Having been there I'd like to see them there again and help them as a player.

"If the opportunity to do that is there then I'd love to explore that. I'd struggle to play for another Welsh region."

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It was the same for Roberts' former Blues teammates Rhys Thomas and Richie Rees, who had playing spells with the Dragons before moving into the region's coaching staff.

Both Thomas and Rees are now back home in the capital, the hooker is with the academy and the scrum-half is the seniors' backs coach.

However, they provided value for money while with the Dragons as players and coaches.

Roberts is being asked to play a similar role as his fellow starters in Marseille for the 2010 Challenge Cup triumph.

He wouldn't be in talks if the Dragons didn't think he has enough left in the tank for a couple of seasons and director of rugby Dean Ryan, who would be spending the money that had been earmarked for Joe Tomane, knows that he would not only add power at 12 but will drive standards and act as an inspiration.

Roberts was "gutted" when he missed out on Lions selection in 2017 but didn't wallow, instead he captained Wales superbly in the summer Test wins against Tonga and Samoa.

"You respond to it in one of two ways. You mope around and continue to mope around, or you dust yourself off and you go again," he said.

Roberts is a seriously impressive individual, softly-spoken but driven.

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He is exactly the sort of person that the Dragons' glut of 20-somethings can learn from.

In fact, he is exactly the sort of person that his fellow 30-somethings can learn from.

In fact, he is exactly the sort of person that Ryan and his coaches can also learn from in their quest for improvement.

Roberts would love to be a Blue again but money is tight and they already have Willis Halaholo and exciting prospect Ben Thomas on their roster.

Until he signs on the dotted line at the Dragons, the Arms Park remains a possibility and a dream scenario for the centre.

Don't take that personally and don't take that reluctance to head elsewhere as a sign that the Rodney Parade region are as ramshackle as they have been throughout Roberts' career.

When a teenage Wayne Rooney scored against Aston Villa in the 2002 FA Youth Cup final he lifted his jersey to display a shirt with "ONCE A BLUE, ALWAYS A BLUE" scrawled on it.

That statement was followed by a 13-year-old spell in Manchester red before a return to Goodison but Roberts will share the sentiment.

That won't stop the strong-running, hard-hitting centre playing with total commitment if he runs out with a Dragons logo on his chest.