Essendon will seek « compelling compensation » after defender Adam Saad told the Bombers he wishes to be traded to Carlton.
Carlton have confirmed that Saad, who is out of contract, wanted to cross to the Blues. Sources said Saad had been offered a five-year deal.
Carlton’s head of football Brad Lloyd said on Tuesday night: “We can confirm that Adam Saad has today notified us of his commitment to join the Carlton Football Club.
“Adam has officially requested a trade and we will now work with the Essendon Football Club and Adam’s management to finalise the deal.
The Blues made a strong pitch based on the position of their list and having already effectively landed free agent Zac Williams from Greater Western Sydney, who is set to join the Blues on a long-term deal of at least five years.
Essendon had offered Saad a four-year deal on what sources said was close to $600,000 a year, having increased their initial, early-season offer.
Key Carlton football officials were well placed to present to Saad based on their experience with Richmond star and Saad’s mentor and fellow Muslim Bachar Houli. Lloyd used to manage Houli when he was a player manager while list manager Nick Austin knew Houli from his days in recruiting at the Tigers.
In a statement prepared by the Dons, list chief Adrian Dodoro said the club was disappointed with Saad’s decision.
« We put forward a significant offer to Adam and we are disappointed in his decision to pursue a playing future elsewhere, » Dodoro said.
« Although we wish Adam all the best, he is not a free agent and therefore a suitable trade will need to be forthcoming from Carlton. Clearly, there is an expectation of compelling compensation for a player of Adam’s calibre. »
It is a significant blow for the Bombers, who also face the prospect of potentially losing Joe Daniher to free agency, with the Brisbane Lions and Geelong among the clubs interested in acquiring Daniher, who is a restricted free agent and has to date declined to sign a contract with the Dons. Daniher unsuccessfully sought a trade to Sydney during last year’s trade period. Orazio Fantasia’s future at Essendon also remains uncertain.
While Saad is out of contract, he is not a free agent and the Blues will need to satisfy Essendon in order to secure him in the post-season exchange period, in what shapes as an interesting negotiation. Carlton have pick seven in the national draft and the club’s aggressive pursuit of players suggests a willingness to part with that pick or future picks, though it is unclear what Essendon will be demanding in return.
Saad’s wish to join Carlton is one of the rare instances of a high-value player seeking to switch from one traditional Melbourne powerhouse club to another.
Carlton had significant salary-cap space for 2021, due to an under-spend over the past seasons, which the Blues had to take advantage of or they would lose that additional money to spend on players. Teams that don’t spend all of their salary cap in a season can « bank » the money and spend in the subsequent two years and exceed the salary cap in the subsequent years.
The view of former Essendon insiders has been that the departure of Saad would be more hurtful than that of Daniher, reflecting some unhappiness or dissatisfaction within the playing group at Tullamarine. Saad finished third in the club best and fairest this year for the second year in a row.
The Blues, like Essendon in 2017, included their commitment to diversity and multiculturalism in their pitch to Saad and his management.
Saad had been courted by the Blues when he left Gold Coast in 2017 and Essendon won his services with a three-year deal. Saad also grew up close to Princes Park in nearby Brunswick, where former Carlton premiership hero Ange Christou lived next door. Christou remains a close friend of Saad.
In a big day of trade news, Melbourne free agent Jack Viney took himself off the market by signing a five-year contract extension.
“By signing a long-term deal, Jack has shown belief in his teammates, his coaches and the club, which is exciting for everyone,” Melbourne football chief Josh Mahoney said on the club’s website.
“Jack is a passionate Melbourne person and player, and has been since day one. He is a man of great integrity, who really drives standards among the playing group.
“At just 26, we think his best footy is still in front of him. We look forward to him building on his great contribution to the game, as a Demon.”
Adam Saad,Joe Daniher
Actu monde – AU – Essendon seek ‘compelling compensation’ for Saad