Essendon are reportedly asking for a first-round pick in return for wantaway defender Brandon Zerk-Thatcher.

The South Australian is keen to return to his home state via a move to Alberton following six seasons in the red and black, with the opening of his off-contract status used to seal a deal west.

With Zerk-Thatcher not eligible for free agency, the Power will need to broker a trade with Essendon to acquire the 25-year-old's services, however they face a hurdle in looking to satisfy a number of rivals who have players keen to move to Port Adelaide over the coming weeks.

Along with Zerk-Thatcher, Geelong's Esava Ratugolea and Western Bulldogs ruckman Jordon Sweet have both lodged requests to move to SA and join Ken Hinkley's group, with the Power needing to get creative to satisfy all three clubs.

Port Adelaide currently holds picks 38, 44 and 71 and might need to spit their 2024 first-round selection into multiple picks to add to their draft hand.

Geelong are said to be asking for an opening-round pick for Ratugolea, though, while Essendon are now reportedly following suit in their demands for Zerk-Thatcher.

According to Fox Footy's Jon Ralph, the Bombers are after a first-round pick from Port Adelaide in their negotiations.

"The Essendon demand right now is a first-rounder from Port Adelaide," Ralph told On The Couch on Monday.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher of the Bombers is tackled by Willem Drew of the Power during the 2023 AFL Round 16 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Port Adelaide Power at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 1, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"They're saying the best pick you have right now is Pick 38, in a really poor draft, that gets pushed back to 45.

"So right now Port Adelaide's trying to satisfy the Cats on Esava Ratugolea, the Dogs on Jordon Sweet.

"It's not gonna be a bumper trade period but the fights are gonna be spectacular."

Port Adelaide are unlikely to include personnel in their dealings with the Cats, Dogs and Bombers, and currently have just two players unsigned for 2024 that aren't eligible for free agency.

Small forward Orazio Fantasia makes up one-half of that list, however he has recently expressed his confidence in signing a one-year extension with the Power. The other half is fringe ruckman Sam Hayes, who has played just 11 games during his time in South Australia.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 08: Orazio Fantasia of the Power in action during the 2021 AFL Round 08 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval on May 08, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Veteran pair Travis Boak and Scott Lycett are unsigned and eligible to exercise their rights as free agents, with the former expected to recommit for an 18th season.

Contracted midfielder Xavier Duursma and Ollie Wines have been floated as potential targets for the trio of Victorian clubs, however the Power are believed to have squashed the idea of the duo exiting Alberton this off-season.

The 2023 trade period will open on Monday and will run until Wednesday, October 18.