AFL Rd 2 - Sydney v Essendon
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 14: Zach Merrett of the Bombers marks during the round 2 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Essendon Bombers at Sydney Cricket Ground on June 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Port Adelaide have once again put their hand up in the pursuit of Bombers star Zach Merrett.

According to The Age, the 25-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of 2021, is being courted by a number of clubs including Melbourne, Carlton and Collingwood, the latter of whom are seemingly out of the race as a result of their salary cap squeeze.

But it is revealed that Port Adelaide, due to them still having a large chunk of salary cap left to burn, could throw money at the Bombers star to lure him across to Alberton.

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Merrett, who has had a blistering start to season 2021, has reportedly paused contract talks to focus on his season, but is expected to be paid a large salary to reflect his value to the team.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 13: Zach Merrett of the Bombers celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL round 04 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Brisbane Lions at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 13, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Speaking a couple of weeks ago on Triple M’s The Sunday Rub, Jay Clark spoke about Merrett’s contract situation with the Bombers, describing the deal that the club are looking to put on the table.

“We know Carlton and Collingwood are screaming out for him.

“Essendon will give him a 6 year deal on 900[thousand], there’s no doubt about that. They couldn’t afford to lose him.”

The Power, Blues and Hawks had all reportedly shown strong interest in the Bombers onballer last season, per Fox Sports’ Tom Morris.

Port Adelaide star Ollie Wines said today on Sportsday that the club “would love” to have Merrett.

“He’s a quality player, we’d love to have him,” Wines told Sportsday.

“Our midfield is built from guys who probably aren’t the most polished players, myself included. I probably lead that contingent.

“Another silky mid coming into the frame would be nice.”

AFL Rd 13 - Essendon v Richmond
DARWIN, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 22: Zach Merrett of the Bombers kicks the ball during the round 13 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Richmond Tigers at TIO Stadium on August 22, 2020 in Darwin, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Wines added that he and his teammates would consider making financial sacrifices for the betterment of the club in their bid to win a premiership.

“I think we’re at the stage as well – moreso my age and up – of our careers where we’re as hungry as ever to win a premiership,” he said.

“If that takes sacrificing some of your salary, we’d probably sit down and talk about it.

“To make our team the best we can be, and be up there competing for (the premiership), sometimes you have to make those sacrifices.”