Essendon Coach John Worsfold says he expects Michael Hibberd to remain a Bomber despite Melbourne declaring its interest.
Demons CEO Peter Jackson revealed on Thursday morning that the club had been in conversation with Hibberd's camp about a possible move to the Demons next year.
Hibberd is contracted until the end of 2017 but is yet to confirm if he will honour that deal or seek to find a new home once his 12-month WADA suspension ends.
Worsfold said he had no reason to believe Hibberd, who is managed by respected agent Paul Connors, would not serve the final year of his contract at Essendon.
"I think 'Hibbo' is contracted, so they shouldn't be expressing any interest in contracted players," Worsfold said.
"I think that's outside the laws of the game.
"He's a contracted player and we would love him to be here at Essendon and at this stage we expect him to be here at Essendon."
It is protocol for clubs not to approach players directly while they are contracted, instead dealing with their management.
Jackson, who was speaking on Melbourne radio station SEN, did not explicitly say the Demons had spoken with Hibberd directly.
The prospect of Hibberd leaving Essendon is alive because of a clause in the player contract that would allow the banned Bombers to effectively delist themselves and become free agents.
Teammate Michael Hurley, who is contracted until the end of 2017, has also been linked to rival clubs and has been in ongoing talks with Worsfold,
"I've spoken to him (Hurley) several times and caught up with him a couple of weeks ago … I saw him on the weekend," Worsfold said.
"I'm more than comfortable that Michael's aware of what we're building here.
"It's not my call to make about him re-committing for the longer term (but) I'm confident that's the way it'll go."
Worsfold defended the Bombers' game style this season following comments from former coach Mark Thompson, who was fined by the AFL for his role in the club's 2012 supplements program.
Thompson, who left the club after acting as caretaker coach in 2014, said the Bombers had given up on the season and were playing a style of football that won't win games.
"He does a job. He's got a job to have an opinion, so that's fine. That may not match up with what we believe, but that's OK," Worsfold said.
"Parts of what we're trying to do, we're not doing just for this year … but we have been limited in a big way in terms of how much we want to bring into play this year."