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)

Port Adelaide forward and ex-Bomber Orazio Fantasia has reportedly expressed a desire to return to Essendon at the end of this year.

Fantasia is off-contract in 2023 - his third year at Alberton since making the switch from Tullamarine following a trade request. The Bombers parted with Pick 73 along with Fantsia in exchange for Pick 29 and a third-round selection for the 2021 National Draft, which would end up as Pick 50.

A move back to his home state would see Fantasia's 80-game stint with Essendon come to an end, with the small forward joining Ken Hinkley's cause as a major coup for the South Australian club.

Fantasia's time at Port Adelaide hasn't been as fruitful as his seven years as a Bomber, having played just 19 games in three years - with only four appearances coming since the start of 2022.

Both injury and form have limited Fantasia's exposure at senior level, with The Age's Sam McClure now reporting that the 27-year-old is keen to move back to Essendon. According to McClure's report, mutual interest in a move from the Bombers is yet to surface.

It is understood that Fantasia and Essendon captain Zach Merrett have recently held talks.

McClure revealed on the Tradies Podcast that Fantasia could be of interest to clubs from across the league as his contract nears its expiry.

"He's playing in the SANFL, he's out of contract, he's 28 so he's still a good age and I think he'll be having a good look around," McClure said.

"Went back home to South Australia citing some homesickness, he's got a lot of family in South Australia.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 17: Boyd Woodcock of the Power celebrates a goal with Orazio Fantasia of the Power and Travis Boak of the Power during the 2021 AFL Round 05 match between the Carlton Blues and the Port Adelaide Power at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 17, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"Footy is pretty fickle. You go home for the right reasons and he looked like he was going to be part of the next wave at Port Adelaide, and then for whatever reason - form, injury, he falls a little bit out of favour.

"(Port Adelaide) have now won 12 in a row and it's like they don't need to bring him back in. He just happens to be out of contract while this is happening. I think he'll look to move and I think there'll be a few clubs that will talk to him.

"Particularly because they'd feel they might be able to get him pretty cheap. I think clubs (from) everywhere. Right here, right now he's unlikely to be playing for Port next year, that's my gut feel.

"That may well depend on how much interest there is outside of Port Adelaide and how much they're willing to give."

Essendon are expected to move for key position talent this off-season, with North Melbourne free agent Ben McKay among the players linked to the Victorian club.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 20: Ben McKay of the Kangaroos handballs during the round 10 AFL match between North Melbourne Kangaroos and Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium, on May 20, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The Bombers could be tempted to add to their small forward stocks, with Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti no certainty to be at the club next year given his own contract status. Jye Menzie, who has kicked 16 goals this year, is also off-contract.

Fantasia booted 111 goals in his time in the red and black, culminating with a 39-goal campaign in 2017.