Tensions between Jake Stringer and the Western Bulldogs continue to grow as Essendon ticked another name off their AFL trade wishlist.
Essendon on Monday signed Gold Coast speedster Adam Saad on a three-year deal, having traded a future second-round draft pick to the Suns.
The 23-year-old running defender had requested a return to Victoria to be closer to his family.
Essendon will now turn their attention to sealing a deal for estranged Bulldogs forward Stringer, who has nominated the Bombers as his preferred home.
The Bulldogs placed the contracted Stringer on the trade table but have since dug their heels in, threatening to keep the 2015 All-Australian on their list unless they receive suitable compensation.
Tensions between the Stringer camp and the Bulldogs continue to grow, with Stringer’s father criticising the 2016 premiers for their treatment of the 23-year-old.
“He’s probably been through a little bit of a public stoning,” John Stringer told AFL trade radio on Monday.
“From our perspective, we thought that he was contracted at the Dogs and he was going to stay there so for them to come out publicly and say ‘it’s time to move on’ is a little bit disappointing.”
Stringer’s agent Paul Connors confirmed that the Dogs had knocked back Essendon’s offer of a first-round draft selection early in the trade period.
The Bombers later dealt that pick to Greater Western Sydney in exchange for small forward Devon Smith.
Connors said it was clearly a negotiating tactic for the Bulldogs to suggest Stringer could remain on their list next year.
“They don’t want him, so why would they want to keep him?,” Connors said.
“You always get concerned because he’s contracted to the Western Bulldogs … but we’re hopeful the trade will get done.
“They can say that it was a mutual decision to explore options – I’d like to maybe challenge that because it wasn’t Jake’s (idea) to explore options.
“He wanted to stay.”
Essendon have two second-round selections at their disposal, which Connors said would be fair compensation for the Bulldogs.
Stringer has played 89 games at Whitten Oval, booting 160 goals.