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Lynch to Tigers a 'done deal', says one list boss

Tom Lynch has told Gold Coast he wants to return to Victoria - AFL,Tom J Lynch,Gold Coast Suns,Richmond Tigers,Free Agency
Tom Lynch has told Gold Coast he wants to return to Victoria

MOST rival clubs believe wantaway Gold Coast spearhead Tom Lynch will join Richmond when the free agency period opens in October.

Lynch informed the Suns on Thursday he intended to depart Metricon Stadium after eight years' service.

Richmond, Collingwood and Hawthorn have been widely linked with Lynch for much of this year, while the 25-year-old met with Magpies list manager Ned Guy on Monday at his parents' home on the Mornington Peninsula. 

However, many in the football industry are convinced Lynch will soon be a Tiger.  

AFL.com.au spoke with a selection of officials at 10 clubs, including list managers, recruiters, football manager and CEOs, along with some player managers, asking them to nominate where Lynch would be playing in 2019.

Their response was unanimous – Richmond. 

"I think it's been a done deal at Richmond for a while," one list manager said.

"Collingwood has obviously had a crack, but the meeting the other day came across as a bit of a smokescreen to me, something to make it look as though he was still making up his mind.

"I think he's made his decision. I'm confident he'll be a Tiger next year."

It's unlikely Lynch will nominate his preferred new club until the free agency period opens as an official offer can't be tabled until then. 

The 2016 All Australian was paid about $1 million a season under his most recent deal at the Suns and is likely to see his yearly salary rise to about $1.2 million at his new club on a long-term deal of at least five years. 

The Suns have the salary cap space to match any offer for the restricted free agent and could do so in a bid to force a trade. 

But they might opt not to given, on current ladder position, they will receive pick No.3 in the NAB AFL Draft if they let Lynch walk.    

Lynch won't play again this season after recently undergoing knee surgery.

He was stripped of the Suns captaincy he shared with Steven May after informing the expansion club he was leaving.