Brendan Rodgers is ready to offer Steven Davis a shock escape route after his refusal to stay at Rangers.
Just days after the Ibrox captain announced that he wants to quit the club, with the prospect of playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football looming large, Davis could be on his way to one of England’s biggest clubs.
Already Davis’ fellow Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty has left Rangers to sign for Swiss side FC Sion on a three-year contract and with clubs returning for pre-season training over the next few days, the rest of the players who have objected to having their contracts transferred to the newco Rangers are hoping to secure new deals elsewhere.
Rodgers has yet to make a signing since being installed as the new manager of Liverpool last month — and his fellow Co Antrim man Davis is being lined up to take that label.
With Northern Ireland skipper Davis available on a free transfer signing him wouldn’t be regarded as a gamble by the Anfield giants and matching his Rangers wage of £28,000-a-week shouldn’t be a problem for Liverpool.
Davis has been linked with a move to newly promoted Southampton, while his former club, Aston Villa, have previously made moves to take him back to the Premier League — most recently just hours before the transfer window closed last August.
Lafferty is understood to have clinched a big money deal with Sion, worth more than what he was on at Rangers.
The 24-year-old has flown to Switzerland, where he will be officially unveiled to the media.
Meanwhile Northern Ireland’s latest recruit, Scottish-born defender James McPake, has signed a permanent deal with Hibernian.
The 28-year-old spent the second half of last season on-loan at Hibs from Coventry City and, after a successful battle against relegation and a Scottish Cup final defeat to Edinburgh rivals Hearts, McPake wants to see things improve at Easter Road.
“Hibs took a chance on me and the move has worked out well, but the Cup final did leave me with the feeling that there are a lot of wrongs to put right from that day,” said McPake.
“I sat down and spoke to the boss — obviously I want to see more players in the door.
“We need better players. The last year was just not acceptable by Hibs’ standards, but I’m happy with what the manager said in that respect.”
Meanwhile, West Ham United have announced the signing of former Northern Ireland defender George McCartney on a two-year contract for what will be his third spell at Upton Park.
The 31-year-old came through the youth system at Sunderland before moving to the Hammers where he spent two years, from 2006 to 2008, before rejoining the Black Cats.
McCartney then enjoyed a successful season-long loan in east London last season as the Hammers made an immediate return to the Premier League.
“I am delighted to be coming back to West Ham and this time on a permanent basis,” said McCartney.
“It was great to be part of the side that won promotion for the club last season.
“It was a fantastic way to end the campaign last year and I am really looking forward to being back in the Premier League with West Ham.”