Jack Watts leaves the field after another Melbourne defeat. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Jack Watts will not decide whether to re-sign with Melbourne until the coaching position is settled.
Watts is out of contract at the end of the season and his management has told the club he will hold off discussions until the Demons have finalised the appointment of the senior coach, which chief executive Peter Jackson has indicated is likely to be an experienced coach.
Watts' manager, Paul Connors, confirmed Watts, the No.1 draft pick in 2008, would not make a decision until the Demons had installed a new coach.
''We're going to wait until there's a coach in place and let Jack concentrate on his football for the rest of the season until then,'' Connors said when asked about Watts' intentions for 2014 and beyond.
Watts, who has been happy under caretaker coach Neil Craig, has attracted interest from a number of clubs, including Carlton.
Blues coach Mick Malthouse acted as a mentor for Watts last year when Mark Neeld was senior coach and Malthouse was working in the media.
Melbourne's football operations manager, Josh Mahoney, said the club had been ''in ongoing discussions with Jack and his management'' and said he was a required player.
''Jack's form over the last 6-8 weeks has been very good,'' he said on Tuesday.
''He's improved his flexibility playing through the midfield and we see him as a key player for us going forward.''
Watts has struggled to establish himself in the AFL, having joined the club carrying the huge expectations of a No.1 pick.
In June, Watts said he wanted to stay with the Demons. He is the most prominent - and discussed - out-of-contract Melbourne player, given that most of the better known players are contracted for 2014. Colin Sylvia, a free agent, is also coming out of contract.
The Demons have still not completely given up on the notion of Paul Roos as senior coach, as Jackson indicated on Fox Footy's On the Couch on Monday night. The club has been open that ex-Swans and Bulldogs coach Rodney Eade - acting football manager at Collingwood - and ex-Port Adelaide premiership coach Mark Williams, an assistant at Richmond, are among the candidates. Roos has said he has little interest in coaching at the moment.
The Demons also have been in contact with Geoff Walsh, who quit his position as Collingwood's head of football last week and would be a leading candidate to fill the role at Melbourne if he was interested, as the Demons seek to remodel their football department with the financial assistance of the AFL.
North Melbourne and Hawthorn also have vacancies for the same head of football operations role, which clubs increasingly view as critical.