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Out of contract Lafferty linked with a transfer to Azerbaijan

 

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty could be in line for a shock move to Azerbaijani champions Qarabeg.

One week before Northern Ireland's vital World Cup qualifier in Baku, it has been reported in Azerbaijan that free agent Lafferty is high on a list of targets for Qarabeg who have set their sights on making the Champions League group stages next season.

Following a frustrating season of inactivity Lafferty left Championship club Norwich City and is now on the look-out for a new club with international boss Michael O'Neill saying earlier this week that the 29-year-old front man needed to be playing on a more regular basis.

The Fermanagh man would prefer to make a move to a team in the UK, but as his career has shown with transfers to Sion (Switzerland), Palermo (Italy) and Caykur Rizespor (Turkey) he has never been afraid to travel around Europe and is open to offers from abroad.

Qarabag have won their domestic league for the last four years and are planning to splash the cash in order to make an impact in the Champions League. They will enter the competition in the second qualifying round and have identified a number of players who they believe can take them into the group stages.

Lafferty is on that list. Already one of Northern Ireland's most recognisable performers and the country's second highest goalscorer ever, there will be increased interest in the ex-Rangers ace when he and his team-mates touch down in Baku prior to the World Cup game.

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