North Melbourne have emerged as a potential suitor for off-contract Sydney midfielder Dylan Stephens, with the Kangaroos reportedly keen on adding outside run with the young Swan in their sights.

For the second time since the end of 2021, Stephens will have a call to make on his career as his contract comes to an end. The 22-year-old penned a two-year extension at the conclusion of his second year in the Harbour City.

Stephens had been linked to Victorian clubs that year as he weighed up his future before seeing out the next two seasons in the red and white and playing some of the best football in his short career.

The Mildura junior was a key role player in the Swans' deep finals run last year but has found opportunities harder to come by in 2023 - playing 11 games so far this season.

Stephens has led all Swans ball winners at VFL this year, averaging 29.6 disposals, 6.0 tackles and 6.8 clearances per game at the state league level to continue to press his selection case. Stephens has featured under John Longmire in the last two games and would collect 16 disposals as an outside midfielder in the absence of Braeden Campbell and Justin McInerney over the weekend against the Suns.

With his contract coming to an end and opportunities limited, Stephens looms as an attractive trade target for rival clubs to consider.

According to News Corp, North Melbourne are one club keeping an eye on Stephens as the Roos look to add some run to their young list.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Dylan Stephens of the Swans kicks a goal during the round seven AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Geelong Cats at Sydney Cricket Ground on May 01, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Kangaroos have flagged a desire to add experienced talent to their squad this year, with Stephens a formidable option as a 41-gamer.

Alastair Clarkson has lost flanker Aaron Hall to retirement while veteran wingman Liam Shiels is no certainty to play on for 2024. The Roos are in line for a busy period of list-shaping, with a larger wave of list cuts to come after being handed extra spots for 2023.

Stephens' value to the Swans could remain high despite his place on the fringes of selection, with the New South Wales club having used Pick 5 for the Norwood product at the 2019 National Draft.

North Melbourne currently hold draft selections 2, 16, 41, 51 and 57 with two rounds remaining in the season, and could have their hand added to with potential free agency compensation for key defender Ben McKay.