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Melbourne open to trading Oliver for the right price amid frustration and concern from teammates


Melbourne is open to trading star midfielder Clayton Oliver, with rival clubs already enquiring about his availability.

The response these clubs received has left the door ajar for the four-time best and fairest to depart Melbourne in the trade period, according to two sources with direct knowledge of discussions.

But the Demons will not allow their gun on-baller to leave for anything less than what they believe he is worth, given he is contracted until the end of 2030.

Equally, Oliver would need to agree to be traded.

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.

On Tuesday night, list bosses at rival clubs said Melbourne was not shopping Oliver yet, rather making it clear the club is open to discussions.

Oliver endured a horror season due to a three-month hamstring injury. In recent times senior teammates have become increasingly more frustrated and concerned in equal measure with his welfare, to the point where Oliver moving away from his Camberwell house and in with captain Max Gawn has been seriously canvassed as a temporary option.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing, only that Gawn would support Oliver through a difficult period.

In addition to his public argument with Melbourne’s strength and conditioning boss Selwyn Griffith, Oliver became frustrated at the club’s medical and high-performance team throughout his long layoff.

He told friends the Demons should have handled his hamstring injury better. When he had a knee complaint in early September, Oliver elected to visit a non-club physio to receive treatment.

But Melbourne believed the three-time All-Australian did not show enough professionalism in his rehabilitation.

Suggestions that Oliver's foot became infected after he tried to tattoo himself earlier in the year were neither confirmed nor denied by the club when made formal contact on Tuesday. The club stated he had a blister that had gotten infected.

The club also elected not to comment publicly on whether it was open to trading Oliver, but several list management and player agent sources have confirmed discussions have begun to explore the possibility of him leaving, specifically and only for the right deal.

It was never revealed how Oliver had a foot infection, only that it was so bad he ended up in hospital.

“He was in a pretty bad way,” his agent Nick Gieschen told AFL Media’s Gettable show in June.

“When he said that he had an infection, I didn't realise how bad it was. I went to see him in hospital and he was laying on the bed and his foot was up, all bandaged.

“From what he's said, it was quite painful. Obviously, it's still causing him some issues even now.”

Oliver’s competitiveness and talent has never been questioned by teammates, but now there is even an acknowledgement internally from some that it may be mutually beneficial for the ball-winner to seek a fresh start elsewhere.

The trade period begins on Monday.


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