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KIERAN Harper has emerged as a key part of the deal North Melbourne is putting together in an attempt to lure Western Bulldog Adam Cooney to Arden Street.
AFL.com.au understands Harper, 22, has completed a medical test with the Bulldogs and is open to the possibility of a change of club after struggling with injury and form over the past two seasons.
North met with Cooney last Friday, but faces stiff competition from Essendon to win his signature.
However, the 2008 Brownlow medallist is contracted to the Bulldogs for next season and remains a chance to stay.
Cooney is understood to have had a strained relationship with ex-coach Brendan McCartney this year, with the latter's departure from the Whitten Oval last Friday a possible factor in Cooney's decision.
The 29-year-old returned from a holiday on the Gold Coast on Tuesday afternoon to make a final decision on his football future ahead of the end of trade period at 2pm on Thursday.
It is understood North's offer for Cooney will also involve an exchange of draft picks, with the Roos' second-round pick, No. 36, possibly also in play.
Little more than 18 months ago, Harper was widely considered one of North's brightest young talents, having shown glimpses of line-breaking run and freakish goal sense that suggested he was a star in the making.
At the time, Harper had played 37 games in two years at Arden Street and was rated almost as highly as fellow 2010 draftee Shaun Atley.
However, Harper was dropped after the first three rounds of 2013 and has not played a senior game since.
Harper was the No. 27 pick in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft.