Brownlow Medal winner Tom Mitchell was encouraged by Hawthorn to seek a third club, with Collingwood the likeliest target in the embattled football machine.
Hawthorn is strongly considering firing Brownlow medalist Tom Mitchell to speed up the rebuild under Sam Mitchell next season.
The star onballer was encouraged to consider options at competing clubs to help Hawthorn land another early draft pick.
Collingwood has yet to show strong interest but is currently considered the most likely new home as the Magpies look for ways to bolster their center clearance power.
The Magpies have had low possession and clearance rates all season and could make a serious game for Mitchell if they part ways with superstar Ruckman Brodie Grundy as expected.
Collingwood originally set his sights on GWS Giants star Tim Taranto, who wants to join Richmond, forcing the Pies to consider other options.
Mitchell, 29, has a whopping salary of more than $700,000 for the final year of his contract next season with Waverley, meaning the Hawks would have to pay part of his salary at his new club.
That means the Magpies were able to snag Mitchell at a discounted rate just two years after forcing midfielder Adam Treloar to take a large chunk of his $900,000 annual wage.
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Hawthorn made efforts late in last year’s trading period to try and fire a high-ranking player like Luke Breust or Chad Wingard last year but couldn’t secure a deal.
But open talks with Mitchell about moving to a third club took place earlier this year, giving the Hawks and rival clubs more time and leeway to negotiate a potential deal.
The Hawks would likely want a top-30 pick for Mitchell, but whether they accept a first- or second-round pick could still depend on how much salary they’re willing to put in.
Mitchell remains one of the AFL’s top ball winners, averaging 28 disposals per game in 2022.
But his role in Hawthorn’s main court would almost certainly diminish next season.
Sam Mitchell is looking to bleed more young talent, including Josh Ward, mid next year while also earning another first- or second-round draft pick for the Hawks.
Sources said the deal represents a win-win for both parties as a move to Collingwood could see Mitchell return to a Premiership club after starting his career at Sydney Swans. But Grundy may first need to seal a deal to Melbourne or Geelong to give the Pies the lid space to house Mitchell along with Dan McStay and Bobby Hill.
News Corp understands Mitchell’s management and the Hawks are taking a mature approach to his future ahead of a looming exchange period.
Mitchell has previously expressed a strong desire to stay at Hawthorn, however the club have been open about his desire to go in a different direction at the end of the season.
Port Adelaide are also keen to add to their midfield holdings and are interested in Western Bulldogs’ Josh Dunkley.
Originally published as AFL Trade News 2022: All the whispers ahead of a record bout of player movement
https://www.codesports.com.au/afl/trade-hq/afl-trade-news-2022-all-the-whispers-ahead-of-a-bumper-period-of-player-movement/news-story/39b0c254b2b672543f8226208b92dfb1?nk=642baa42f0f20cb3f8a563e0180173fa-1661949673 AFL Trade News 2022: Tom Mitchell asked by Hawthorn to find new club, Collingwood most likely suitor