CARLTON is preparing to bide its time on a move for Adam Saad.

The Blues have offered Essendon their choice of either pick No.8 or a future first-round selection for Saad, but are refusing to budge from their stance of receiving a second-round pick packaged alongside the Bombers speedster.

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As of Tuesday evening, Carlton remains confident that a deal will be completed by Thursday's 7.30pm AEDT deadline. However, Essendon has not yet offered a selection along with Saad that meets the club's demands.

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Although both parties had originally anticipated minimal haggling in talks, Carlton is now preparing for the saga to reach the final stages of the Trade Period in the knowledge that other Essendon trades could hinge on a deal for the defender being completed.

Essendon is yet to put forward an offer that has satisfied the Western Bulldogs for contracted midfielder Josh Dunkley and may require a first-round selection from Carlton in order to complete any proposed deal.

There also remains complications in a trade that would see Greater Western Sydney youngster Jye Caldwell join the club, with the Giants determined to land a first-round pick as compensation for the talented midfielder.

Young Giant Jye Caldwell attempts to evade a couple of Gold Coast tacklers. Picture: AFL Photos

A move taking contracted forward Orazio Fantasia to Port Adelaide is also in the balance, with the Power conceding they may have to walk away from the deal if the Bombers do not back down from their original asking price of a first-round pick.

The Power's initial offer of pick No.29 has so far been rejected.

Rival clubs believe a host of deals in this year's Trade Period, including Essendon's own moves for Dunkley and Caldwell, rely on either the Saad or Fantasia trades being completed as early as possible over the coming two days. - Riley Beveridge

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Eagles ruckman waits on Swan's decision

Tom Hickey's move to Sydney will hinge on Aliir Aliir's decision whether to pursue a trade to Port Adelaide.

The ripple effect of Aliir's potential move to the Power to add to their key defensive stocks will be felt by a couple of clubs, with the Swans' move for West Coast ruckman Hickey dependent on Aliir leaving the Harbour City.

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The contracted Swans defender, who has also pinch-hit in the ruck for the red and white, has met with Power officials and is understood to have undergone a medical with the club. He will hit free agency next year.

But if he decides not to pursue a move to the Power, the Swans are unlikely to be able to fit in Hickey, who shapes as moving to his fourth AFL club after stints with Gold Coast and St Kilda before the Eagles.

Aliir Aliir is yet to make a decision on whether he moves to Port Adelaide or stays in Sydney. Picture: AFL Photos

The Swans have been searching to bolster their ruck division, having also enquired about Port big man Peter Ladhams, but with a list and salary cap squeeze are unlikely to be able to accommodate Hickey if Aliir turns his back on Port's advances.

The 29-year-old Hickey is contracted to the Eagles for next year and managed only three senior appearances for the club this season as a resurgent Nic Naitanui returned to his best form. - Callum Twomey

The mids struggling to find suitors

THERE is no shortage of inside midfielders available this off-season, but finding new homes is a different task.

Clubs have got the slows on available ball-getters who aren't considered top-tier players around the competition, with Melbourne's Aaron vandenBerg and Sydney's George Hewett the latest names to be floated in discussions.

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vandenBerg knocked back interest from the Swans at the end of 2018 to sign a new three-year deal with Melbourne but after two injury-interrupted seasons the Demons are open to offers for the hardened 28-year-old.

The Dees have also been seeing if any clubs were interested in Alex Neal-Bullen, who has a year to run on his deal with Melbourne.

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Hewett, like vandenBerg, also has another year on his contract and will become a free agent at the end of 2021.

But after managing only six games this season Hewett is seen as gettable among rival clubs who could be looking for inside depth.

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St Kilda midfielder Luke Dunstan is another strong-bodied midfielder who was available as he assessed more opportunities elsewhere but seems unlikely to find a new home, while Gold Coast's Will Brodie looks set to stay at the Suns where he has two years to go on a deal despite the club being open to trading him.

Fremantle midfielder Connor Blakely has also been on the lookout for more chances elsewhere but seems likely to remain at the Dockers where he is contracted, while Geelong’s Charlie Constable is another midfielder who has been put on the trade table. - Callum Twomey 

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