The Adelaide Football Club have insisted they will play hardball regarding Jake Lever.

The 21-year-old defender has formally requested a trade to a Victorian club, with Melbourne his most likely destination.

Crows Head of Football Brett Burton spoke on NAB AFL Trade Radio this afternoon regarding Lever’s decision.

“We are extremely disappointed that Jake has decided to go back to Victoria, but right now we need to do what’s best for the Adelaide Football Club,” he said.

Asked when the club knew of Lever’s choice, Burton replied: “In recent weeks.

“We were aware that he indicated that he’d like to go to Victoria. (We knew about) His preferred club being Melbourne just recently.”

Regarding where Lever ends up, Burton indicated that the Demons are no certainty as the Crows set about receiving apt compensation for the rapidly rising key defender.

“There’s 10 teams in Victoria so we are open for business,” he added.

“We are in discussions with a number of Melbourne-based teams. At the end of the day, he is not a free agent, he’s a third-year player and we are about getting what’s best.

“Anyone who wants to trade for Jake Lever, we are open to. “We just deal with what is best for us. It’s irrelevant where he wants to go to. We will deal with whoever gives the best value.”

Quizzed on what the Crows offered Lever in a bid to have him stay, Burton said: “Our offer was very lucrative.

“One that would have placed him very high at the footy club. The offer to match Melbourne would have made him the highest-paid player at our club.

“But we need to be fair to our players and maintain a list capable of success.”