BALLARAT, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Caleb Daniel (left) and Josh Dunkley of the Bulldogs celebrates during the 2017 AFL round 22 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Port Adelaide Power at Mars Stadium on August 19, 2017 in Ballarat, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Essendon are a club seemingly in turmoil at the moment, their 2020 season was a failure and a number of key players have expressed their desire to leave.

Joe Daniher has told the club he wants out for the second time in two years as he eyes a move to Brisbane, while Adam Saad has requested a trade to Carlton after becoming disenfranchised with the direction of the Bombers and the club’s culture.

But these moves leave the Bombers with significant salary cap room and they have found their number one target.

Essendon are believed to have identified Bulldog Josh Dunkley as a potential acquisition in the upcoming trade period.

Tom Browne reported on Monday morning that Essendon were prepared to pay a high price for the midfielder who still has two-years left on his current deal at the Dogs.

Dunkley suffered an injury interrupted 2020 season and fell down the pecking order in the dogs midfield with Tom Liberatore stepping up in the 2016 premiership star’s absence.

The Bombers currently hold pick No.6 in the National Draft but list boss Adrian Dodoro has said he is after “compelling compensation” in trades for Daniher and Saad.

Essendon have already asked the question of Carlton regarding Sam Walsh in early trade talks.

Reports suggest they also requested a big name from the Brisbane Lions when they began discussing a Daniher deal last week.

However, both Carlton and Brisbane turned those suggestions down promptly.

The interest in Dunkley has come after reports emerged that Collingwood are eying a move for Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett.

7NEWS Melbourne’s Mark Stevens reports the Pies have shown a “very keen interest” in Merrett.

Essendon president Paul Brasher said the 25-year-old recently shut down speculation he was unhappy and could seek to leave with one year left on his contract.

“Last weekend I had a call from somebody telling me as an absolute fact that Zach Merrett had handed in his resignation the day before,” Brasher said on the club’s website.

“Now, I was speaking to Zach, as it turned out, over the weekend, and he assured me there was no truth in that and he’s looking forward to a big 2021.”