TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 27: Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce of the Knights looks on during the round seven NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Newcastle Knights at QCB Stadium on June 27, 2020 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Mitchell Pearce is set to be the next player on the Canterbury Bulldogs' lengthy list of targets.

Their recruitment strategy to flip the struggling club around has been a long one over the last 12 months, but is beginning to look close to complete now.

Paul Vaughan, Tevita Pangai Junior, Matt Burton, Matt Dufty, Brent Naden and Josh Addo-Carr have all signed on the dotted line with the men from Belmore.

Trent Barrett has close to the side he wants, but is now reportedly looking at bringing Mitchell Pearce to the club, to partner Burton in the halves, according to an The Daily Telegraph report.

It's understood the club's hands will be supposedly tied by their new salary cap restraints from so many purchases, but new director of football Phil Gould is a noted fan of the Newcastle and former New South Wales Origin representative.

The 32-year-old, now in the twilight of his career, is still contracted to the Knights for the 2022 season, but the club are understood to want to shift Kalyn Ponga into the halves from 2023.

With young half Simi Sasagi in the system, as well as the acquisition of Jake Clifford from the North Queensland Cowboys, it's thought Pearce may not be retained by the Knights at the expiration of his current deal.

Pearce is also understood to want to play in Sydney to close his career.

It's understood the Bulldogs are currently looking at offloading Luke Thompson, with the Wests Tigers and Cowboys both rumoured to be interested in the English prop.

While Thompson would free up plenty of salary cap if Canterbury wanted to chase Pearce for 2023, they will also need to sort out their own halves situation.

Burton is guaranteed of a starting spot next year, while the club have also recently re-signed Bailey Biondi-Odo, to go with Jake Averillo, Kyle Flanagan and Lachlan Lewis.

There have been plenty of rumours regarding the departure of Flanagan and Lewis, although Gould is understood to want to see Flanagan play behind a far superior team to the one he has had at his disposal since arriving at Belmore from the Sydney Roosters.

Pearce will be able to negotiate with other clubs from November 1.