The Wigan forward, who has over 200 top-flight games having spent time with the Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors before his move down under in 2019, was regarded as one of the best in his position during his time in the NRL.
A 20-test veteran for England, Bateman's pursuit from the Wests Tigers could come with a transfer fee attached to it, however, with Jackson Hastings now moved on to Newcastle, the path could be clear for Bateman to form a dream second-row combination with another recruit for 2023 in Isaiah Papali'i.
News Corp's David Riccio told Triple M Radio that the club has salary cap space for Bateman, with Tigers officials reportedly "quietly confident."
“I don't think they are finished, I know they have got salary cap space left to go and that ultimately points towards John Bateman,” Riccio said on Triple M.
“It is getting closer, talking to Tigers officials yesterday they are quietly confident, they don't want to talk publicly about how the negotiations are going.
“I expect the transfer free from the Tigers to Wigan, which sits outside the salary cap, to be around $250,000 to be paid by the Tigers.
“Ultimately it is up to Bateman now and whether he wants to come back to Australia, I believe all indications are that he does.”
The release of Hastings yesterday points in the direction of Bateman's signature, with previous reports suggesting Bateman didn't want to play alongside Hastings.
The Tigers have been in the process of beefing up their forward pack following the twin departures of James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys) and Zane Musgrove (St George Illawarra Dragons), as well as Luciano Leilua to the North Queensland Cowboys.
Isaiah Papali'i will offset the departure of Leilua, however, Riccio said the club could still push for an extra key acquisition ahead of 2023 as incoming coach Tim Sheens aims to turn the team around.
“That will strengthen the Tigers up even more, but I don't think they will be done after that, I think they've got at least one more spot in their roster, so the rebuild could continue beyond Bateman,” Riccio said.