ESSENDON hasn't yet determined what it expects in exchange for midfielder Jake Melksham, who is set to head to Melbourne on a deal the Bombers believe is "too good to refuse".
Melksham last week officially informed the Bombers he was leaving after six seasons and 114 games with the club, and looks set to join the Demons on what is likely to be a four-year contract.
Essendon list manager Adrian Dodoro told AFL.com.au's Road to the Draft podcast that he had spoken to the 24-year-old last week and that he understood his reasons for leaving.
Dodoro cited Melksham's friendship with Simon Goodwin, who was the midfield assistant at Essendon before moving to Melbourne as senior assistant, as an important factor but the strength of the Demons' offer was the clincher.
Essendon had recently put a two-year offer to Melksham.
"I think his relationship with Simon Goodwin played a pretty big part in it. They got on exceptionally well, they're very close," Dodoro said.
"It definitely had nothing to do with the things going on at the club the last couple of years, he said that. He rang me last week and he was virtually in tears when he told me he was leaving.
"He was leaving basically because I think the offer was good, and he's a young man who's about to have a family and the offer was too good to refuse, plus his relationship with Simon was pretty strong. That's his call."
Dodoro said he had spoken with Melbourne list manager Todd Viney on Tuesday to set up a meeting, but that there hadn't yet been any discussions about whether the Demons' second-round draft pick would be in play for Melksham.
"We'll sit down and have a chat, and see what's available," Dodoro said. "We're open-minded, we just want a fair trade."
The Bombers are set to be major players in this year's trade and free agency period, with key defender Jake Carlisle also requesting a trade.
Dodoro said the club was determined to get the best result for Essendon, targeting a top-10 selection in exchange.
"Our understanding is that he's met with Carlton and he'll meet with St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs in the next few days," Dodoro said.
"I'm in constant contact with his manager, Anthony McConville, who has been fantastic through the process with us.
"We don't expect there to be many issues. He'll identify a club of choice, but they've also given us an undertaking that there won't be any walking into the pre-season draft so that gives us a bit of confidence that we'll be able to get a deal done."
Essendon will ask for the Saints' prized No.5 draft pick if Carlisle nominates St Kilda as his preferred destination, having believed late in the year that he may still sign on with the club despite delaying contract talks since late last year.
"There's always warning signs when they're not signing. We were communicating regularly, we were talking to Jake. I think he was very sincere in what he was telling us," Dodoro said.
"I don't think he made his mind up until very, very late in the piece to be honest. I thought towards the latter part of the season that he would have stayed, but then again he's made his decision and we just need to move forward from this point."
Dodoro also confirmed the Bombers are interested in Brisbane Lions ruckman Matthew Leuenberger, and expects to hear more from the restricted free agent this week about his intentions.