MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Tom De Koning of the Blues and Sam Draper of the Bombers compete for the ball during the round 13 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

While a ball is yet to be kicked in anger in 2023, Carlton's blossoming big Tom De Koning has already become one of the most speculated talents of the season.

Out of contract at the end of the year, De Koning is reportedly being chased by Sydney, Hawthorn and Essendon, with rich offers are said to mounting before the 41-game Blue, all without a solid body of work during his time at Princes Park.

Across the course of De Koning's five seasons as a Blue, the Dandenong Stingrays product has failed to truly break through at senior level, averaging fewer than 16 hitouts, 10 disposals and 3 marks per outing.

At present, it is a quintessential case of talent and output versus potential.

While Carlton have been forced to tighten its pursestrings after signing twin pillars Charlie Curnow and Ben McKay to extended deals, as well as offering Sam Docherty, Lewis Young and soon-to-be debutants Lachlan Cowan and Oliver Hollands new contracts, the club remains keen to keep De Koning on their books.

Last week, The Age reported that Sydney, headed by chief recruiter Kinnear Beatson, was mulling the idea of tabling the 23-year-old an eight-year deal.

On Wednesday night, AFL Media and Nine Network journalist Damien Barrett claimed St Kilda, led by former Carlton recruiting boss Stephen Silvagni, remained keen to offer De Koning "an offer that may just be impossible to refuse."

"The man that recruited him into the AFL system was Stephen Silvagni, who was at Carlton at the time and as of January of this year, is at St Kilda," Barrett told Footy Classified viewers.

"Silvagni has now made it known to the people around De Koning that when he wants to engage in his future - which is expiring by a contractual sense at the end of this year - that he's going to be given an offer (by St Kilda) that may just be impossible to refuse."

Former Footy Classified panelist and recently reinstalled St Kilda coach Ross Lyon stated later in the show that Silvagni would be sent to market in an effort to recruit players other than De Koning.

"Well, not just Tom," Lyon said of Silvagni's shopping list.

"It would be fair to say that we (St Kilda) haven't been a destination club for whatever reason, and some doors were shut."

Silvagni is currently working in tandem with seasoned negotiator Graeme 'Gubby' Allen in an effort to luring talent to Linton Street and fill voids in Lyon's roster.

Both veterans of the industry are ably supported by former Saints assistant Jarryd Roughead, national recruiting manager Chris Toce, as well as the addition of Carlton's former recruiting coordinator, Michael Jordan.

De Koning is expected to act as Carlton's sole ruck during the Blues' standard season opener against Richmond on Tuesday night.

Lyon will officially commence his second tenure at Moorabbin when his beleaguered Saints do battle with Fremantle at Marvel Stadium during the Sunday twilight timeslot.

Ironically, Lyon is expected to select two ruckmen, Rowan Marshall and veteran Tom Campbell, to tackle the skill and strength of Luke Jackson and Sean Darcy at stoppages.