The 2020 AFL trade period officially got underway today, with the Bombers shaping as big players as the November 12 deadline approaches.
General manager of list and recruiting Adrian Dodoro appeared on AFL Trade Radio to give an update on Josh Dunkley, Orazio Fantasia, Adam Saad, Jye Caldwell and the areas Essendon needs to bolster.
The Western Bulldogs premiership midfielder has been linked with a move to Essendon, despite two years remaining on his contract.
Dodoro confirmed the Bombers were chasing Dunkley, but had plenty of work to do to make their pursuit successful.
"That's our understanding (that he wants to go to Essendon)," Dodoro said.
"At the end of the day, you've got to respect the fact that these guys are contracted, and the Bulldogs hold the whip hand with this one," Dodoro said.
"We're certainly asking the question, and we certainly will over the entirety of the trade period. It's only the start of the trade period, and anything can happen between now and next week.
"Right now, I wouldn't say discussions are progressing at any rapid speed ... we've had some preliminary chats with the Bulldogs and it's best left there at this point."
Essendon has begun talks with Port Adelaide about a trade for Fantasia, who is keen to return to his native South Australia to be closer to family.
Fantasia is contracted for 2021, with the Bombers wanting to keep the 25-year-old unless a suitable deal can be struck with the Power.
"He comes from a really close family and he wants to get home for family reasons. We've spoken to Orazio and although he'd like to get back to Adelaide, he understands he's got a contract," Dodoro said.
"Our situation is quite clear; we rate him really highly as a player. He hasn't been able to get on the park the last couple of years and show everyone just how good he is, but he's an electrifying forward when he's up and running. He's over his (calf) injury, so there's no reason why he couldn't have a great career here going forward.
"It looks like Saad will leave and we've lost McKenna, so when you lose a bit of speed, there's a real hesitation to lose another one (speedster). We're talking to Port Adelaide at the present time and if something's on the table that's fair, we're more than happy to talk."
Dodoro said he was confident a deal would be reached with Carlton for Saad, who requested a trade to the Blues in early October.
When asked if Carlton's pick No.8 should be part of the trade for the star defender, Dodoro was unequivocal in his response.
"I think that's a fair deal. Carlton aren't being unreasonable. We're discussing certain elements of that trade and I'm sure it'll get done," he said.
"He's finished top three in our best and fairest the last two years, he's the best metres-gained player in the competition and he's clearly one of our better players. We want fair compensation for him, and it's incumbent on them (Blues) to come to us."
No.11 draft pick Caldwell has expressed his desire to return to Victoria and play for Essendon.
Dodoro said the Bombers had begun talks with the Giants for the inside midfielder, who this year played nine games in his second season.
"We really rate Jye. He's only played 11 games over the last two years and he's expressed his interest to get to Essendon," he said.
"I spoke to (GWS football manager) Jason McCartney this morning and I'm sure we'll have further chats. He's got a fair bit on his plate at the moment as well."
With key forwards Joe Daniher (Brisbane) and Shaun McKernan (delisted) joining running defenders Adam Saad and Conor McKenna as off-season departures, Dodoro said the Bombers were looking to bolster both ends of the ground during the trade period.
"Quality tall players don't grow on trees ... that's why we fought so hard to keep 'Joey' (Daniher)," he said.
"We certainly spoke about all the talls that have been available this year, and we've missed out on a couple there. In the background we're trying to get a tall forward.
"As for the small backs, there's a couple of players we're looking at who could potentially come in."
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