SYDNEY has been linked with a shock play for West Coast Eagles star Andrew Gaff this trade period.
A rumour swirling through football circles suggests the Swans have jumped into the race for the All Australian midfielder — ignoring reports North Melbourne has already offered the 26-year-old a deal worth up to $ 7.7 million.
The Daily Telegraph’s chief football writer Neil Cordy told Macquarie Sports Radio on Thursday he has heard rumours the Swans are in the race for Gaff — creating a three-legged stand-off with North Melbourne and West Coast.
The Swans have already confirmed Dan Hannebery and Gary Rohan have requested trades back to Victoria, while the futures of Luke Parker and Jake Lloyd are also uncertain.
Hannebery, who has three years left to run on his contract, has requested a trade to St Kilda while Geelong have been linked with Rohan.
“We believe Dan has the capacity to be an extremely influential player for us,” Saints football manager Simon Lethlean said.
“We will be really thorough in our due diligence and make sure the appropriate medical screenings are completed.”
Swans boss Tom Harley declared on Wednesday Parker under no circumstances will be leaving — despite rumours he too is open to finding a new club.
Cordy said all the movement at the Swans suggests the 2012 premiers believe they can land a big free agency signing this off-season.
Cordy said a series of moves has combined to give the Swans significant salary cap space to land a big fish like Gaff.
He reported the diminished cap room taken up by retired forward Kurt Tippett and the removal of Hannebery’s reported $ 800,000-per-season contract from their books makes them a danger for any club chasing free agents this off-season.
“It all adds up to that they are building a bit of a war chest if they can get a deal for Hannebery done,” Cordy said.
“I think they’ll have to pay some of Hannebery’s salary (if he is traded to St Kilda), but they’ll still have room to move when you combine that with Gary Rohan.
“There’s some space opening up. Some of that will go to Jake Lloyd, who has held out, he hasn’t re-signed for 2019 yet, but I can see the Swans making a play for a significant free agent in the trade period.”
He said Gaff would be the perfect signing for the Swans, who have identified silk ball-movers as their recruiting focus.
“He’d be exactly what the Swans need,” Cordy said.
“Since Hawthorn flogged them in the 2014 grand final, where they really exposed them for speed and skill, the Swans have been doing everything they can to rectify that situation, but they still need more. Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker have been absolute soldiers, but they’re starting to feel the strain just as Dan Hannebery did.
“A player like Andrew Gaff would be perfect.”
Gaff is a restricted free agent and The Herald Sun reported recently the Eagles would likely only receive a compensation draft pick around pick No. 20 in the 2018 draft.
Gaff has reportedly had a six-year deal on the table from West Coast for several weeks, but has shown no sign of putting pen to paper in Perth.
West Coast coach Adam Simpson admitted last week that he has not made any move recently to finalise the Gaff contract issue.
He told Fox Sports last week he will only prioritise Gaff’s future at the end of his team’s season.
The Sydney rumours fly in the face of reports earlier this week that the Kangaroos are in the front seat to land the Eagles star.
“I think West Coast is losing faith in keeping Andrew Gaff,” The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph told Fox Sports News.
“There was a really nice moment when Adam Simpson slapped hands with him in the box post-match.
“But I think what the clubs feels is that it’s just a perfect storm of circumstances that will see him go home.”
The Swans’ negotiations with St Kilda surrounding Hannebery will be one of the major talking points of the league’s trade period, which runs October 8-17.
Sydney, whose consistency over the past decade means they have rarely accessed early draft selections, will be pushing hard to secure the Saints’ first-round pick.
Parker has also been mentioned in recent trade speculation but it would be a major surprise if the Swans part with the gun midfielder, widely regarded as Josh Kennedy’s likely successor as skipper.
“I was very surprised to hear about trade rumours regarding Luke,” Swans football manager Tom Harley said.
“I can unequivocally deny those rumours, we’ve spoken to Luke on Wednesday and he’s fully invested with the Swans.
“We won’t be trading him under any circumstances at all.”
Lloyd is being courted by Gold Coast but the 24-year-old reiterated before his side’s shocking elimination-final loss to GWS that he wants to remain a Swan.
“The conversations are ongoing … we’re really hopeful of getting a deal done with Jake,” Harley said.
— with AAP