Harry McKay has put pen to paper with the Blues ending weeks of speculation on his future. The Coleman Medal leader has extended his stay at Ikon Park for a further 2 years.

McKay has been one of the game's most improved players in 2021 and has already beaten his career best season for goals.

The 23-year-old said in a statement released by the Blues that there was never any doubt he would be staying at Carlton.

“I was always staying a Blue,” McKay said.

“This playing group have been through a lot together since I came to the Club. A lot of us have been part of what we are building from day one, I’m committed to being here and helping us achieve our ultimate goal of winning our 17th Premiership."

The Blues have slumped to 4-8 with finals seeming all but gone, McKay said that he believes the group still has plenty of improvement left in it this year.

“To the members and supporters who are sticking by us right now, it is an honour to play for you, to wear our club’s guernsey and we will be doing everything we can in the next few years to make you proud to be Carlton.

AFL Rd 7 - Essendon v Carlton
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 02: Harry McKay of the Blues celebrates a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 07 match between the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 02, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“I can’t wait for the second half of the year to get started and for us to perform to the level we know this group is capable of.”

The Blues have launched an external review of the football department in recent weeks to try and turn their season around.

Securing the signature of McKay is a huge step forward for the Blues who would have been aware of the outside interest in McKay. Essendon ad North Melbourne had reportedly been interested with the Bombers making contact with McKay's team.

However, McKay had always intended to open serious discussions with the Blues at the bye and a deal was hashed out rather quickly once those talks started.

Carlton Head of List Management Nick Austin said the commitment of McKay was a sign of how committed this group is to success.

“Throughout this entire process Harry has always stated his intention to remain a Carlton player and not at any stage did he waver from that,” Austin said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 20: Harry McKay of the Blues celebrates a goal during the round 18 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

“As we’ve all seen, Harry has developed into an exceptional footballer. To lead the Coleman Medal at this stage of the year is a credit to the amount of dedication to his craft he has shown – he is the ultimate professional."

Austin said that McKay has become a real leader at the club this season.

“What people perhaps don’t see are the steps forward Harry has taken as a leader of the football club. He cares a great deal about his teammates and knows to get the best out of himself, that comes from helping his teammates get better.

“We couldn’t be happier to have extended Harry and are pleased our members and supporters will be able to continue to see his qualities as a Carlton player and leader in the years to come.”

McKay's new deal will expire at the end of 2023 when he will become a free agent. Interestingly, his twin brother Ben recently signed a deal with North Melbourne that would also see him a free agent  at the end of 2023.

The Blues are now awaiting to signature of Patrick Cripps which is expected to come sooner rather than later.