JAMES Graham wants to return to Saints and pull on the red-vee of the club where he began his career, according to a former team-mate.

News broke overnight that Graham's current club St George Illawarra Dragons has been involved in talks with the 34-year-old and his management over an immediate return to England.

The Star understands that club is Saints and it is believed the Maghull-born veteran will return to St Helens on an initial short-term deal, providing the Dragons can acquire a replacement.

Speaking on Australian television, Michael Ennis, a former team-mate of Graham's at Canterbury Bulldogs, explained the reasons why the wheels are in motion for the deal.

Ennis, the ex-hooker who is now a commentator with Fox League, said: "It is the timing of things, for James.

"He was an 11-year-old boy when he went to St Helens Academy and it has been a huge part of his life.

"He played nine years of first grade there and developed as a rugby league player. He always wanted to go back there and finish off.

St Helens Star:

James Graham signing for Saints as a junior with Mike Rush, the then youth development officer who is now the club's chief executive (Pic:St Helens Star)

"Given the fact that Luke Thompson has come over here (from St Helens) and secured an early release to join the Bulldogs it presented the opportunity.

"James was maybe thinking next year it would come to fruition but given what has happened it has obviously fast forward.

"James is in his position where his children are yet to start school – he and his partner would love to come back to Australia and continue living here – but an opportunity to go back and wear that famous red vee for the remainder of the season is really important to him."

Graham made his first team debut for Saints in 2003 and after establishing himself as a regular he was part of the the 2006 grand slam winning team.

He scored 53 tries in 225 games for Saints, winning the Man of Steel in 2008 and going on to skipper the side in 2011, with the team playing all their games on the road but just falling short at Old Trafford.

St Helens Star: James Graham applauded off by his colleagues

Graham saying farwell to his Saints team-mates in 2011

He then moved to the Bulldogs in the NRL, where he enhanced his reputation as one world's greatest forwards, and later moved to the Dragons.

Although he may no longer be at the peak of his powers, Graham was still playing international rugby league as Great Britain captain last season and the move would seem to make sense for both parties.

After the loss of Thompson, Saints have a void in the front row to fill and need to swiftly add experienced support to Alex Walmsley, Matty Lees, Kyle Amor and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, particularly, if as expected, Super League teams are playing three times a week on occasions when the action resumes.

St Helens Star:

Breaking through as a youngster. Pictured with Keiron Cunningham (PA Photos)

Graham's leadership is another significant quality and if the deal goes through it is hoped that he would be a major influence on younger forwards, especially Matty Lees and Morgan Knowles.

There would also be a huge incentive for Graham, who remains hugely passionate for Saints and has close bonds with the likes of James Roby, Jonny Lomax and assistant coach Paul Wellens, to end his career on a high with silverware.

Saints, meanwhile, will hope that, if the deal does happen, his arrival would send a message to the fanbase that they are determined to defend their Super League title and compete for the Challenge Cup.

In a statement released last night, the Dragons said they have been involved in discussions with “Graham and his management regarding an opportunity for him to return to the English Super League with immediate effect”.

The statement added: “The Dragons will consider this option for Graham on the merit a replacement player is secured by the club prior to his release.

“The Dragons will be making no further comment regarding Graham at this stage.”