Tom Shanklin would like to see Luke Charteris move back to Wales if the Wales lock leaves French club Racing 92 at the end of the season.
Charteris, 32, is in talks with English Premier side Bath about a potential move when he is out of contract.
But former Wales centre Shanklin hopes the ex-Newport Gwent Dragon might yet decide to come home to Wales.
"If we want the regions to play better, we need the best players playing there," Shanklin said.
"That will improve the whole league. It would be great to see him back at a Welsh region.
"Ideally we'd like to see him in a region, but if it's Bath I'm sure Wales will be able to control him slightly better being in Bath.
"I'm not writing him off, but he is at that age now that he'll maybe want to experience something new.
"He's done the Welsh thing, he's done the French thing, this is a new challenge for him."
Dragons are keen to take back their former player Charteris, who left them to join Perpignan in 2012, but coach Kingsley Jones has said they will probably be unable to match the likes of Bath financially.
But with Wales and British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies returning to Scarlets from Clermont Auvergne next season, Shanklin is hopeful the tide of Welsh player departures has turned.
Shanklin won 70 Wales caps before a knee injury forced him to retire in 2011.
He told BBC Radio Wales: "We have heard some good news in Jon Davies coming back, there's rumours of Leigh Halfpenny, of George North.
"If we want to improve the Pro12 and get the quality and the intensity that we see in Europe, we need out best players back."