Melbourne star midfielder Clayton Oliver was thrust into the thick of the AFL’s silly season when his name was floated in trade rumours.
Riley Beveridge and Cal Twomey first repoted that a number of clubs are circling for his services.
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“One to watch over the next couple of weeks, clubs are weighing up now whether to make a move for Melbourne superstar Clayton Oliver in this year’s trade period,” Beveridge said.
“Oliver obviously has a massive seven years left on his contract that takes him through to the end of 2030.
“Obviously he’s had a very challenging year, he’s only played 15 games, missed 10 games through the middle of the campaign with a hamstring injury, but also that blister on his foot which became infected.”
Twomey noted that there have been no external indications of interest in Oliver, who is one of only five players in the league contracted through to the next decade.
But on Tuesday night the plot thickened as SEN’s Tom Morris poured fuel on the fire with a report noting the club is “open” to moving on their star midfielder.
Morris reported the Demons are said to want the right price in exchange for the star midfielder.
The report also stressed that the Demons are not shopping Oliver yet but just “making it clear” to rival teams that they are open to the possibility.
According to Morris, a potential Oliver trade would help the Demons in a bid to stockpile a “suite of draft picks” as they look to possibly move up the draft to the first overall spot.
“Melbourne is open to trading star midfielder Clayton Oliver,” Morris reported on SEN.
“Rival clubs believe Melbourne is trying to acquire a suite of draft picks – which would be aided by Oliver’s departure – to satisfy West Coast for Pick 1 at best, and Gold Coast for Pick 4 at worst.
“They’ve long been keen on likely No.1 pick Harley Reid.”
Any potential deal would also hinge on Oliver agreeing to be moved on in the first place.
While Oliver struggled in 2023, he remains one of the best players in the league, particularly around clearances, leading the competition in 2022.
He is a three-time All-Australian, four-time best and fairest and two-time AFLCA Champion Player of the Year, all having come at the core of a hugely talented Melbourne midfield.
With the Dees having been punted from finals in straight sets for a second straight year, a desire to go a step further and add to his 2021 Premiership would be the only feasible impetus for Oliver to seek greener pastures.
With little to no indications that the red-headed superstar is going anywhere, including any from his own camp, Oliver looks set to stay at Casey Fields for the foreseeable future.
It comes after fellow premiership midfielder James Jordon nominated Sydney as his new home, with the unrestricted free agent out of contract at the end of the 2023 season.