The Sydney Swans remain confident they can sign Buddy Franklin to a new one-year deal and fend off interest from the Brisbane Lions.
According to the Herald Sun, the Swans believe they are ‘close’ to agreeing a 12-month extension with the AFL superstar and were ‘surprised’ by reports the 35-year-old had been linked with a move north of the border.
Franklin’s nine-year deal with the Swans will expire at the end of the season and the Lions emerged as surprise candidates for his signature with the star forward reportedly dissatisfied with Sydney’s reluctance to meet his demands.
Buddy Franklin has reportedly set his sights on a move to the Brisbane Lions next season
The two-time premiership winner reportedly wants in the region of $750,000-a-year to remain with the Swans, with the club’s offer standing at $500,000.
However, Sydney are confident they can reach an agreement to keep Franklin in Sydney for at least another season.
Franklin, who joined the 1000 AFL goals club earlier this year, has reached the Grand Finals twice since swapping Hawthorn for Sydney, only to lose on both occasions.
The Swans are firmly in contention for the flag this season and sit fourth on the ladder with three rounds of the home and away season remaining.
Franklin’s nine-year deal with the Swans expires at the end of the current season
The Swans have reportedly offered Franklin a $500,000-a-year deal for next season, but the 35-year-old is understood to be demanding around $750,000-a-year instead
However, they face a number of key decisions in the offseason with Ryan Clarke, Jake Lloyd, Joel Amarty, Hayden McLean and Paddy McCartin all set to hit the market.
The Swans are conscious they can’t financially overcommit to Franklin if they are to keep hold of all their upcoming free agents.
Meanwhile, the Lions have poured cold water on speculations they were in the box seat to sign the veteran forward this summer.
According to Channel 9, Brisbane emerged as a serious option for Franklin. It is understood that his wife, and agent, Jesinta Franklin, is motivated to move north to be closer to family on the Gold Coast.
According to reports, his wife Jesinta wants to move north to be closer to their family
Swans CEO Tom Harley said rumours linking Franklin to Brisbane were ‘news to me’
However, 3AW Sportsday reported that, speaking off-air after an interview, Swans CEO Tom Harley said the latest Franklin development was ‘news to me’.
Franklin would join another premiership contender in the Lions and his arrival at the Gabba would bolster an already healthy forward line for Brisbane, who boast Joe Daniher, Eric Hipwood and Charlie Cameron among their ranks.
But Lions coach Chris Fagan appeared to apply the brakes to the rumours on Friday.
‘I would have thought if they are moving to Queensland, that that‘s perhaps an indication that Bud’s going to retire from AFL football,’ he told the Herald Sun.
Lions coach Chris Fagan poured cold water on speculations
‘If it came to pass down the track that they do move here, and. someone reaches out from his camp and suggests that he still wants to play, then we would be remiss as a footy club not to go and have a conversation with him.
‘As far I‘m concerned he’s a Sydney Swans player, and if any of that was going to happen, it would happen when the season’s all over.
‘I don‘t know what will play out in the future but the way I see it right now is if he is moving to Queensland to live, I would suggest that he’s going to retire.’