Adam Saad has reportedly met with Carlton “twice in recent days” as the Blues attempt to lure the halfback away from Tullamarine.
Saad is out of contract at season’s end and is holding off on re-signing with the Bombers in a bid to secure a better deal.
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Carlton are amongst three clubs interested, while Richmond and Melbourne are both keen on acquiring the services of the dashing defender.
Essendon are preparing for the worst-case scenario – they will reportedly ask for a first round pick in return for Saad should he ask to leave.
Speaking on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast, AFL journalist Tom Browne said Carlton missing out on premiership Tiger Jack Graham had the Blues doubling down on their chase for Saad.
“Carlton has missed out on Jack Graham and they’re upping their efforts for Saad,” he said.
“It’s my understanding they’ve spoken or met with Saad now twice in recent days.”
It is expected that the Blues would need to offer a five-year deal worth $2.75 and $3 million.
It comes after AFL Media’s Damian Barrett reported on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show yesterday that he expects Saad to stay at Essendon.
“I fully expect Adam Saad to now stay,” Barrett said.
“We know that there are good offers for him to leave but in the last week or so I think Essendon have done enough to keep him, that’s the way I’m reading it right now.”
The Blues are expected to secure the services of GWS star Zac Williams on a big-money deal in coming weeks.