Shaun Wane says he admires Zak Hardaker and that Wigan Warriors will always be interested in players of his calibre.
The 26-year-old is currently without a club after being sacked by Castleford Tigers following a failed drugs test in the week leading up to the 2017 Super League Grand Final.
Hardaker has been heavily linked with a move to Wigan in recent weeks and Wane revealed that he thinks the full-back is a special talent.
He said: “He is a fantastic player and if any player of his calibre came up (on the market), we’d be interested.
“I don’t look after things like that though, Ian (Lenegan) and Rads (Kris Radlinski) look after that.
“I admire him like I do with many other players in Super League and the NRL. He is a natural rugby player. He could play anywhere, he could play in the back-row and he is just a natural like John Bateman.
“He is a great player but there are many others as well, they aren’t all available but we will always be interested in people like that.”
The England international is still waiting to find out how long his suspension will be from UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and is currently suspended from playing.
But Wane didn’t rule out the possibility of him joining Wigan in the future.
“I don’t know the details of what he has done and it has not been finalised with what is going to happen with him,” Wane added.
“I know Zak as a person. I’ve met him many times as a lad, he is a fantastic character. I don’t know the details, I would never ask him about that so I just know him as a person who I have met and I found him to be a very, very good person.
“I just know that Zak is a very good player and we want good people at this club. If he has made an error, he’s going to be punished for it.
“There was no-one worse than Micky Mac (Michael McIlorum) in other areas off the field and we stuck with him and made him into a fantastic person so we are a club who looks after our players and if Zak has made an error in his life then he has made an error and he needs to deal with that himself. At this moment in time, he isn’t a Wigan player and I’m just looking after the team for tomorrow night.”