IT is being widely reported in Australia that England prop Luke Thompson could be heading out of St Helens to join Canterbury Bulldogs as early as next week.

The 25-year-old signed a three-year deal in February to join the NRL club from 2021 but it seems the Bulldogs have been negotiating for Thommo to make the switch as soon as possible.

The Star understands Saints are reluctantly negotiating with Canterbury over a transfer fee after being made aware of the player's desire to start his career in the NRL earlier than anticipated.

A deal has not been struck yet, but it looks increasingly like Thompson, who has five months remaining on his Saints contract, has played his last game in the red vee.

Ahead of the 2020 campaign, Thompson, man of the match in last year's Grand Final win over Salford Red Devils at Old Trafford, along with international teammate Alex Walmsley, were seen as fundamental to the bid to retain the Super League title.

But Super League has been out of action since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and could still be two months away from a restart, whereas the NRL roared back to life a fortnight ago and Dean Pay's Canterbury celebrated only their first win of the campaign at the weekend.

A transfer fee would be necessary for any such move, and Thompson, who has six international caps and made over 150 first-team appearances since his debut seven years ago, would be forced to complete a 14-day quarantine period under Australia’s coronavirus restrictions before joining any new teammates but potentially he could be available to face South Sydney on Sunday, July 5.