Belfast Telegraph

The 10 Northern Ireland players who could transfer in January as Liverpool eye up Norwich full-back Jamal Lewis

There are 10 Northern Ireland players who are being tipped with potential transfers in the near future.
There are 10 Northern Ireland players who are being tipped with potential transfers in the near future.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

The January transfer window can be a funny old time, with deals difficult and big names at a premium.

However, look at the Northern Ireland player rumour mill and you could be forgiven for thinking it will be a move a minute this month.

Here are the 10 Northern Ireland players most likely to up sticks in January (in order of rumour juiciness):

1. Jamal Lewis (Norwich City - Liverpool)

The 21-year-old full-back has been impressing in his first Premier League campaign with the Canaries. His current side are rock bottom of the table, five points adrift but the Athletic reckon Lewis might not stick around to complete an unlikely survival bid. Instead, he could end the campaign as a champion of England, with runaway league leaders Liverpool understood to be monitoring his progress (along with that of Norwich team-mate Emi Buendia). While it is, admittedly, unlikely that Daniel Farke would sanction the departure of a prized asset mid-season, stranger things have happened. Like Carlo Ancelotti taking over at Everton. Strange days, indeed.

2. Jordan Jones (Rangers - Sheffield United)

Northern Ireland winger Jordan Jones has endured a tough start to life at Ibrox. Having joined the Gers in the summer, Jones was sent off for a rough challenge on Celtic's Moritz Bauer at the start of September, injuring himself in the process. A few setbacks mean Jones has yet to feature since and the Daily Mail claim that the Blades are keen on bringing him across the border.

3. Kyle Lafferty (Free agent)

It's Norwegian mission accomplished for the striker, who helped Sarpsborg 08 avoid the drop from the Eliteserien. He only joined on a short-term deal until the end of the 2019 season so his immediate future is now uncertain. He's understood to be open to remaining in Norway but his wage demands could prove troublesome to any potential deal. It's set to be an interesting few weeks in the 32-year-old's career as he looks to protect his place in the international squad ahead of the Euro 2020 play-offs.

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Dry spell: Kyle Lafferty hasn’t scored for Northern Ireland since November, 2016

4. David Parkhouse (Sheffield United - Celtic)

The 20-year-old Strabane man is out of contract at Sheffield United this summer. The Blades have made an offer of a year's extension but, keen to kickstart his senior career, he's understood to want out this month. Celtic, Blackburn and Everton have all been linked with moves for the Northern Ireland Under 21 international.

Parkhouse scored 11 league goals during a loan spell at Derry City last year and will now look to get regular game time in England or Scotland in a bid to win a first senior international call-up.

5. Liam Boyce (Burton Albion - Hearts)

The former Cliftonville striker knows the ball is firmly in his court with his Burton contract set to expire in the summer. The Brewers are keen to hold on to their key marksman, who netted four goals in as many games over a frutiful Christmas period, but boss Nigel Clough has conceded they may be forced to sell this month to avoid losing him for nothing come the end of the season. Hearts are ready to do a deal to bring the 28-year-old north in a bid to inspire their survival bid, with the Edinburgh giants five points adrift at the foot of the table.

6. Trevor Carson (Motherwell - Livingston)

Game-time is proving difficult to come-by for Northern Ireland's senior goalkeeping trio. Number one Bailey Peacock-Farrell has yet to play a minute of senior club action since his summer switch to Burnley and Michael McGovern's 158 minutes of Premier League action were rather forced on Norwich City by the injuries to Tim Krul and Ralf Fahrmann. That perhaps leaves an international door ajar for Carson, should he leave Motherwell for regular action. He's behind Mark Gillespie in the pecking order but Livingston are ready to offer him an alternative option. With his contract set to expire in the summer, this is a move that might have to wait, but Carson could be forgiven for trying to accelerate a switch with the Euro play-offs fast approaching.

7. Alfie McCalmont (Leeds - loan)

Midfielder McCalmont made his senior Leeds debut back in August but has been included in only three match-day squads in the Championship, remaining on the bench every time. Boss Marcelo Bielsa has already admitted the 19-year-old could be allowed to go out on loan this month. Highly rated by club and country and having made his senior international debut in September, surely he would be an attractive option to several clubs for the second half of the season.

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Northern Ireland's Alfie McCalmont during his international debut.

8. Jordan Thompson (Blackpool - Championship)

The 23-year-old midfielder is another whose career looks to be on the up and he could be continuing his progress with a move to the Championship this month. Wigan, Blackburn and Michael O'Neill's Stoke City have all been linked with a move for the Blackpool star, who now has seven senior caps to his name.  Blackpool are understood to be expecting interest to be formalised this month so it's a case of watch this space for the former Rangers man.

9. Ciaron Brown (Cardiff City - loan)

Brown made one of the most unexpected senior Northern Ireland debuts ever when he was thrown into the September friendly against Luxembourg just days after he received his first call-up to the Under 21 squad. He has yet to make such a breakthrough for the Bluebirds since signing in the summer from Livingston and at 21 will be keen to kickstart his career. Clubs like Portsmouth are in the market for central defensive options this month and Brown could well prove a shrewd signing.

10. Matty Kennedy (St Johnstone  - St Mirren)

The winger is yet another man out of contract this summer and that has already led to St Mirren registering their interest with St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright. However, his current club are hopeful they can agree a new deal to extend Kennedy's stay at McDiarmid Park. The 25-year-old recently switched his international allegiance from Scotland and was named on the bench for the Euro 2020 qualifiers in the Netherlands and Germany.

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St Johnstone’s Matty Kennedy was included in the Northern Ireland squad for the first time in October (Jane Barlow/PA)

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