Shaun Wane has revealed his admiration for Zak Hardaker, but insists he is unaware of any deal for the player amid increasing speculation he has signed for Wigan.
The former Man of Steel is a free agent after being sacked by Castleford Tigers following a failed drugs test on the eve of last year’s Grand Final.
The 26-year-old is still awaiting a verdict on his case from UK Anti-Doping and a potential ban that may follow.
Hardaker is currently suspended from playing the sport, and although Wane was adamant no deal was in place, he spoke highly of the former Leeds and Penrith star.
“He’s a fantastic player, Zak, and if any player of his calibre came up, we’d be interested.
“But I’ve not heard anything at all – I don’t look after that, it’s down to Ian (Lenagan) and Rads (Kris Radlinski). I admire him a lot but I like a lot of players in Super League and the NRL.
“He’s a natural rugby player and can play anywhere – like John Bateman. He’s a great player but there’s many others, not all of them available.
“To me he’s just a player, if someone like him becomes available we’ll always be interested in that.”
Castleford released a statement on Wednesday that said: “Castleford Tigers can confirm that Zak Hardaker has been dismissed from his contract with the club.
“Hardaker, was suspended by the club after a failing a drugs test in the weeks leading up to the 2017 Super League Grand Final, and currently awaits the outcome of his case from UK Anti-Doping organisation.
“Castleford Tigers will comment on this matter further when UKAD conclude their case.”