Rivals clubs are expected to potentially show some level of interest in former Pick 5 selection and Essendon youngster Elijah Tsatas as he struggles to find minutes at AFL level.

Midway through his second season at Tullamarine, Tsatas has managed 11 games in the red and black - seven of which have come in 2024.

The Oakleigh Chargers product faced a lengthy delay in his rookie season due to a pre-season knee injury, with an eventual debut coming in Round 21 against West Coast last year.

Tsatas started in Brad Scott's side for their season opener against Hawthorn this year as the Bombers' tactical sub and would feature the following week in a full-game performance.

The teenager wasn't seen again at senior level until Round 6 and has played just four further matches since, three of which as the tactical sub.

Tsatas has played over 80% of a game on just two occasions this year, with his place in Essendon's midfield pecking order seeing him placed behind a long line of in-form on-ballers.

Elijah Tsatas and Matthew Lloyd during the 2022 AFL National Draft (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Sports)

The midfielder's form in the VFL - where he averages a team-high 28.7 disposals and 6.7 clearances per game - keeps Tsatas in the selection mix, however, opportunities are hard to come by as Zach Merrett, Sam Durham, Jye Caldwell, Darcy Parish, Archie Perkins, Dylan Shiel and Will Setterfield all earn preference.

The youngster's situation has raised some interest in his future, with AFL.com.au's Cal Twomey suggesting rival clubs could look to "prise him out of the Bombers" despite his contract status and value.

"I'd expect clubs to take a look at Elijah Tsatas," Twomey told Gettable. 

"Would they try to prise him out of the Bombers if he can't break into their midfield? Tsatas is an inside midfielder by trade, a clearance player. He has some senior players ahead of him.

"A top-five pick from a couple of years ago and signed for two years beyond [this year]. Ultimately it would be up to the Bombers if anything did eventuate there.

"I'd expect he'd be a player clubs are assessing, thinking 'If he can't get a game in their midfield could he get a game in ours'."

Tsatas is signed at Essendon until the end of the 2026 season, having recommitted to the club in February this year.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Charlie Lazzaro of North Melbourne chases Elijah Tsatas of Essendon during the round 11 VFL match between Essendon Bombers and North Melbourne Kangaroos at The Hangar on June 04, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Essendon would view the versatile ball-winner as a key piece in their future given their acquisition of Tsatas in 2022, with the club's first top-five selection being the Bombers' first since taking Andrew McGrath with Pick 1 in 2016.

The Bombers have several key players on their list in need of new deals beyond this year, with Caldwell, Nik Cox, Harrison Jones, Matt Guelfi, Dyson Heppell and Setterfield, among others, yet to extend their contracts for 2025 and beyond.