Belfast Telegraph

From Kyle Lafferty to Gavin Whyte: The 13 Northern Ireland players who could be on the move during the summer transfer window

Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Gavin Whyte could all be moving to new clubs this summer.
Kyle Lafferty, Conor Washington and Gavin Whyte could all be moving to new clubs this summer.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

It's set to be a summer of change for the Northern Ireland squad.

Michael O'Neill's men ended the international season with Euro 2020 qualifying victories over Estonia and Belarus and now many of the panel are returning to uncertain club futures.

As many as 13 players in and around the squad could be on the move this summer.

Here's a look at who and where they could be off:

Bailey Peacock-Farrell - Leeds

He might be the current incumbent of the Northern Ireland number one shirt but his fortunes at Leeds United have not run in parallel. Peacock-Farrell was shunted onto the bench with the signing for former Real Madrid stopper Kiko Casilla in January and, while he is set for contract talks this summer, he has admitted he could consider his options if told he will definitely not play regular first-team football.

Conor Hazard - Celtic (loan)

Hazard's future could depend largely on that of Craig Gordon. With Scott Bain set to continue as first choice stopper, Gordon has to decide whether or not he will remain as the back-up option. Should Gordon be content to stay, Hazard could move out on another loan. If Gordon opts to leave then Hazard could find himself as Celtic's second choice stopper. The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season at Partick Thistle.

Daniel Ballard - Arsenal (loan)

The teenage defender is a new recruit to Michael O'Neill's senior panel and is also highly thought of at the Emirates. He penned a new contract with the Gunners last month but has been urged by O'Neill to go out on a loan move in search of his senior football debut.

Jamal Lewis - Norwich City

One of the rising stars of the new-look Northern Ireland squad, he's set to play Premier League football next season. The left-back has earned rave reviews for his displays both in international football and in Norwich City's drive to the Championship title. Some are tipping the 21-year-old for a move to a 'bigger' top tier club and while it might be too early for that, don't rule out a summer move just yet.

Gareth McAuley - Rangers

The 39-year-old is on the move again this summer as his one-year spell at Rangers comes to an end. McAuley started only six Scottish Premiership games during the campaign but is still the third choice centre-half at international level. There has been little hint of retirement and the race is on to secure his signature for the new season.

Conor McLaughlin - Unattached

Another man definitely on the move is the right-back who has already been released by Millwall. A troublesome quad injury spoiled the 27-year-old's season and cost him the starting spot he had enjoyed during Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign.

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Northern Ireland's Conor McLaughlin

Gavin Whyte - Oxford United

The former Crusaders winger could become the £4m man this summer. Or rather, that's what he'll have to become if he's to get a move, according to Oxford boss Karl Robinson. The League One club took a chance when they signed the 17/18 NIFWA Player of the Season last summer and now they want to make big money if they're going to let him go. Nottingham Forest are said to be interested and former club Crusaders could be forgiven for wishing through a deal. They're set to land £500k if a £4m move comes to fruition.

Liam Boyce - Burton Albion

Even Burton manager Nigel Clough seems to accept that his joint top scorer could be off this summer. Burton had to reject offers from Bolton Wanderers last summer and, with just one year remaining on his current contract, this could be the time for Albion to cash in on their own record signing. Clough knows that a move to the Championship could benefit Boyce's international hopes and has admitted that a new contract would only be looked at if Boyce is still at the club come the end of the window.

Kyle Lafferty - Rangers

Rangers paid a reported £500k to prise Lafferty away from Hearts last summer but a frustrating return to Ibrox yielded only six goals. It is expected that he will move on, even with a year left to run on his deal. Cypriot side Apollon Limassol had been linked with a move but the latest reports suggest their attempts to sign the 31-year-old have fallen through.

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Kyle Lafferty looks set to leave Rangers this summer. He hasn't scored for Northern Ireland since November 2016.

Josh Magennis - Bolton Wanders

Magennis has been the hero for Northern Ireland with recent winners over Estonia and Belarus. Things haven't been so enjoyable at club level, however, with Bolton in administration and relegated to League One. Although reports suggest a new owner has been found for the club, Rangers have been linked with a move for Magennis.

Conor Washington - Unattached

After a frustrating goalless season for Sheffield United, he was let go by the Premiership new-boys and is on the look-out for a new side. If any clubs were sitting on the fence over a move for 27-year-old Washington, his outstanding performance for Northern Ireland against Estonia will certainly have influenced their thoughts. He came off the bench at half-time to spark his side into a 2-1 comeback victory and keep their hopes of automatic Euro 2020 qualification on track. "I'm a free transfer," he reminded managers after the game.

Jamie Ward - Unattached

A frustrating two years at the City Ground are finally at an end for Ward, who has been released by Nottingham Forest. He spent time on loan at Cardiff during the 17/18 season and Charlton last term. Walsall were said to be interested in the 33-year-old in January.

Shay McCartan - Bradford City

The 25-year-old made his Northern Ireland debut as a substitute in the friendly win over New Zealand in 2017 and also played against Costa Rica last summer. After scoring four League One goals in his first season at Bradford City, he was off on a year-long loan to Lincoln for the 18/19 campaign. Seven League Two strikes look have been enough to convince Imps boss Danny Cowley to make an effort to secure the forward on a permanent deal this summer, but will Bradford let him go with a year to run on his contract?

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Shay McCartan played against Costa Rica during Northern Ireland's tour to Central America.

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