MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Zach Merrett of the Bombers runs with the ball away from Paul Puopolo of the Hawks during the round one AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Three clubs are believed to be circling Essendon star Zach Merrett despite knowing the midfielder is unlikely to leave Tullamarine, per Fox Sports’ Tom Morris.

The 24-year-old is contracted with the Bombers until the end of next season, with Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Carlton reportedly looking to trade for the Essendon gun in the upcoming off-season.

“I don’t think Essendon’s going to trade him, but that hasn’t stopped clubs hovering. Carlton, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn I understand have some level of interest in Zach Merrett,” Morris told On The Couch.

“Although it seems impossible they could get a trade done … the fact these clubs are hovering and are at least asking the question just tells us there’s a fair bit of unrest at Essendon at the moment.

“They absolutely reckon they’re an outside chance, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the game at all. And if it doesn’t happen in the next month, it might happen in 12 months’ time when he comes out of contract.

“This is ‘pre agency’ at its absolute best. This is why players have more power than ever before.”

Merrett finished second in the Bombers’ Best and Fairest count to Jordan Ridley after a stellar season in the red and back.