A powerhouse rival club is reportedly leading the way to secure the services of North Melbourne free agent Ben McKay, while a report has surfaced detailing stalled negotiations between the Bombers and off-contract midfielder Darcy Parish.

McKay has been tipped to join Essendon's defending ranks during this year's trade period; linked with a move to Tullamarine in late July.

However, according to a Wednesday morning report by The Age's Marc McGowan, it's Sydney that is now reportedly emerging as McKay's most likely landing spot.

Like Essendon, Sydney has met with McKay to discuss the prospect of the key-position asset joining from Arden Street this year. However, it appears the Swans have edged ahead of the Bombers as it pertains to winning McKay's eventual signature.

While the Swans' higher-ups will be disappointed to have missed out on the opportunity to lure contracted Eagle Tom Barrass to the Harbour City this year, they could certainly do worse than nabbing North Melbourne's premier intercepting defender.

According to McGowan, not only is Sydney in the box seat to snatch McKay, but the Swans are expected to offer a lucrative contract to the off-contract Roo; likely of substantial enough value to land North Melbourne 'band one' draft compensation.

That compensation, if decreed by the AFL to be 'band one', would net the Kangaroos the No. 2 overall selection at November's draft, alongside their No. 1 selection for their current dead-last position on the ladder.

Meantime, Essendon's contract negotiations with restricted free agent Darcy Parish have reached a reported standstill, according to SEN's Tom Morris on Wednesday morning.

Per Morris' report, Parish and his management are seeking a six-year deal at the Hangar, while Essendon's hierarchy isn't budging on a five-year maximum extension.

Further, the uncertainty relating to dealings between the AFL and AFL Players' Association regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the players has complexified Parish's situation.

Reportedly, Parish's agents, part of Hemisphere Management Group, are seeking a clause in the Bomber's new contract that stipulates a pay rise once the new CBA is eventually agreed upon. According to Morris, though, Essendon isn't currently willing to grant this request.

While it is understood Parish's overarching preference is to remain at Essendon long into the future, with just one game remaining in the regular season and the two sides apparently no closer to coming to an agreement, a resolution on the 26-year-old's situation remains a ways away as we head toward October's player movement period.