Essendon are inquiring about the services of young St. Kilda defender Ben Paton who is out of contract at the end of the year.

According to Fox Footy, the Bombers are one of a few clubs that are monitoring the 21-year old, who has played every game for the Saints this year in a lockdown role on some of the game’s best small forwards.

The Saints are confident that they will lock him down by the end of the year, but to this moment, the club and his management have not reached an agreement.

The Bombers are circling, but are currently awaiting decisions from several players. Among these is rebounding defender Adam Saad, who is at loggerheads with the club on a new deal and could seek a better one elsewhere.

Paton’s work-ethic and consistency has gone largely unnoticed outside the four walls of St. Kilda this year.

He has conceded just three majors on eight different direct opponents this season, among these include Charlie Cameron, Eddie Betts, Liam Ryan and Tom Papley.

The most recent scalp came in Round 18, when he held Giants’ Toby Greene to just three disposals in over half an hour of footy as a direct opponent.

With the Saints set to take on the Western Bulldogs in next week’s elimination final, Paton will most likely to get the job on Mitch Wallis, who has kicked 24 goals across all 17 games for the Dogs this year.

Paton was taken with the 46th pick in the 2017 AFL Draft and has played 33 games since his debut in 2018.