SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Jake Stringer of the Bombers runs out onto the ground during the round one AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Essendon Bombers at Giants Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Essendon are confident in retaining out-of-contract spearhead Jake Stringer past 2021, with Bombers football boss Josh Mahoney revealing talks between the two parties are  “a long way down the track”.

Reports across the past month have placed a wedge between Stringer and the club, with the 27-year-old understood to have baulked at the Bombers' latest extension offer.

Stringer is believed to be demanding a new deal that would secure his services to Tullamarine for a further four seasons, with the club's latest offer 12-months short of the forward's desires.

However, speaking on SENMahoney revealed that talks have continued to progress, with negotiations surpassing hurdles and nearing agreement.

“It’s a long way down the track. It’s not too far away," Mahoney said.

“I feel like I’ve said that for a little while now, but it’s actually true. It’s not that far away.

“Hopefully in the next little while we’ll get an announcement.

“He’s going very well. There’s been a lot of speculation, everyone’s got their thoughts on this contract.

“When we look at Jake’s last five to six weeks, he’s played probably the most consistent footy he’s played. He’s playing a really important role for us.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Jake Stringer of the Bombers celebrates a goal with Darcy Parish of the Bombers during the 2021 AFL Round 03 match between the Essendon Bombers and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on April 03, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“We’ve been pleased with what he’s been able to do, and the contract is not far away.”

Stringer has become the club's priority retention signing following recent deals for star midfield duo Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish.

The pair have bean in All-Australian form this season, while Stringer has been a key asset to the Bombers' attack.

Essendon will face North Melbourne in Round 18 in hope of furthering strengthening their bid for a top-eight finish.