Trade: The man central to Blues landing Martin
CARLTON is in the box seat to land Gold Coast midfielder Jack Martin as the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle officially bowed out of the race.
The Blues are likely to land Martin but while they are zeroing in on him he has not yet officially nominated them as his club of choice.
He has told the Bulldogs and Fremantle in recent days despite their strong interest that he will not be traded to them.
It means unless a club like Essendon strengthens its interest or another shock contender emerges, he will likely find himself at Carlton next year.
Martin played with Carlton captain and former WA junior Patrick Cripps as a junior and feels he could easily feel at home at the Blues.
They would have to broker a deal with Gold Coast, and also have interest in a host of players including Tom Papley, Eddie Betts, Darcy Cameron and Sam Jacobs.
It is another sign of Cripps' powerful stature as Carlton's co-captain when players like Martin are keen to be in his orbit.
While Martin has been a frustrating player who has not yet maximised his potential despite two top-three best-and-fairest finishes, no one doubts his talent.
The Dogs put in an impressive presentation and had offered him a significant salary to join him.
But he has always been keen to find the right landing spot that ticks several boxes, believing the decision will not be a purely financial one.
The decision is expected to fuel the Dogs' interest in other targets including Josh Bruce and Alex Keath.
Last year they lost out to Hawthorn on star mid-forward Chad Wingard and had believed Martin was an ideal fit.
Gold Coast has confirmed he has requested a trade and would not have paid him anywhere near the massive offers that could hit $700,000.
Aware of the scope of those deals, it will still ask for a first-round pick back given how strongly he has been chased by rival clubs.
Martin is also keen to partner up with indigenous players Liam Jones and Sam Petrevski-Seton at Carlton, with Betts potential addition another bonus.
He has been pondering his decision in Broome on holidays, on the coast in the same area of the state from Petrevski-Seton's Halls Creek, which is 700km inland.