MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - JULY 02: Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks celebrates after kicking a goal with Jack Gunston of the Hawks during the round 15 AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 2, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd believes that a trade for Jack Gunston could be a 'win-win' for both Hawthorn and the triple-premiership winning Hawk.

Jack Gunston, who turns 30 later this year, has played all 10 seasons at Hawthorn under the coaching of Alastair Clarkson. But now, with the announcement of Clarkson's departure, large contract questions have been raised over the club's senior players.

Gunston, as well as Ben McEvoy, Liam Shiels and Chad Wingard all have contracts that end in 2022, whilst Luke Breust, Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O'Meara are contracted until 2023.

Lloyd told Channel 9's Footy Classified that Gunston sticks out as the most likely trade candidate out of that group.

“For me the one that jumps out is Jack Gunston. I don’t know if he’ll be there next year at the Hawthorn Football Club and he’s the one that jumps out for me,” Lloyd said.

“I just think with Jack with a year to go, he’s been out all year – let’s not forget he won the best and fairest last year, so (that’s) the quality of player he is – it’s just got me thinking whether Melbourne, Essendon and Collingwood all could do with a player like that.

The 29-year-old has been remarkably consisted member of the Hawthorn line-up during his tenure. Gunston is coming off a terrific 2020 year that saw him finish fourth in the Coleman and take out Hawthorn's best-and-fairest.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 2: Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the 2018 AFL round 02 match between the Geelong Cats and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 2, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

However, a back injury has cruelled the 29-year-old in 2021, keeping him to just the one game this season.

“He’d want to stay in Victoria, he’s come back from Adelaide. I still think he has two or three quality years left in him at his age and I think he would want to go to a side close to finals," Lloyd added.

Fellow Footy Classified panel member Ross Lyon challenged Lloyd on his suggestion of a Gunston trade.

“I’ve got a contrarian view. I think if Alastair (Clarkson) had his time again, the way (Luke) Hodge was exited, (Jordan) Lewis was exited, (Sam) Mitchell was exited. Everyone lauded it but I think it ripped the heart and soul out of them," Lyon said.

“Here we are saying ‘let’s move Gunston’ - he’s a triple-premiership player too."

But Lloyd believes that after 10 successful years at Hawthorn under Clarkson, Gunston might look finish his career elsewhere.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 11: Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the 2018 AFL round 21 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 11, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

“This isn't just about picking out a player, this is a player that I think is thinking about his future and leaving Hawthorn,” Lloyd said.

“I’m talking about currency too. If you’ve got a player who’s considering their future and he’s got currency. I don’t think McEvoy has currency, I don’t think Liam Shiels has currency... I think Jack Gunston is one that (does).”

Lloyd's comments come amidst reports that Gunston has strong words to younger players over the handling of Clarkson's departure.

These reports, as well as Gunston's relationship with his outgoing coach, will fuel speculation heading into this year's trade period.