A decade on from walking out on the Bombers, it is understood that Essendon are planning to offer the defender job security rather than jump from single year contracts with Richmond.
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Houli is yet to commit to the Tigers for 2021, but it is understood that the 32-year-old is happy with life in the yellow and black.
Houli shares a close relationship with Essendon defender Adam Saad, with the Bombers hopeful of retaining their pacey defender.
“I call Bachar my brother, I’ve looked up to him since he started. We speak once or twice a week and we’re very close,” Saad said in February.
Houli has worked under incoming Essendon coach Ben Rutten, with Rutten coaching the Tigers’ defenders during their 2017 premiership season.
Essendon assistant Blake Caracella was also a prominent figure with the Tigers between 2016 and 2019.
Houli left the Bombers in 2010 after just 26 games with the club across four seasons, eventually joining the Tigers via the pre-season draft in 2011.
Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro said Houli’s departure from the club was “one of the bigger disappointments in my career”.
“We’d taken Bachar and we believed in him, but he felt he wasn’t getting a fair go at the time,” he said in May.
“Good luck to him, he’s become a fabulous player, another All-Australian… a premiership hero at Richmond and you couldn’t get a nicer person than Bachar.
“We certainly didn’t want him to go, we wanted to keep him. The reason why there was no trade done was because at the time, Richmond offered us a pick that we couldn’t use in the draft.
“So strategically, the best thing for us, if he was going to leave, was to put him in the draft because they had committed to taking him in the pre-season draft.
“It was going to give us from memory the first live pick in the pre-season draft by doing that and we picked up Michael Hibberd.”
Houli has now capped 190 games for the Tigers across 10 seasons and will be vying for a third premiership as Richmond begin their finals campaign on Friday against Brisbane.
Houli is an unrestricted free agent and would able to leave Punt Road without a trade taking place.