Sunday 20 August 2017

Kyle Lafferty leaves door open over potential move to Azerbaijan

Kyle Lafferty is a free agent after Norwich announced they would release him
Kyle Lafferty is a free agent after Norwich announced they would release him

Kyle Lafferty has left the door open on a potential move to Azerbaijan champions Qarabag having just returned from international duty in Baku.

The 29-year-old striker came off the bench for Northern Ireland on Saturday when Stuart Dallas' dramatic late winner strengthened the country's hold on second spot in their World Cup qualifying group.

They did so in the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, home to Qarabag, who are believed to have shown an interest in luring Lafferty to the Land of Fire after he was released by Norwich this summer.

Six of Azerbaijan's starting XI on Saturday play for Qarabag, the club who have won the Azerbaijan title for four years in a row, and Lafferty admitted he would be intrigued should they firm up their interest.

"I heard about the fact they were supposedly interested in me but I haven't heard anything more," he said.

"Obviously I've spent a few days there and from what I've seen the city is fantastic and I was really impressed by the stadium.

"Who knows what could happen if Qarabag come in with an offer for me? I could be back playing my football in Baku."

Lafferty has previously shown a willingness to ply his trade further afield after spells in Switzerland, Italy and Turkey.

His limited playing time at Norwich over the past three years has seen him slip down the pecking order at international level, though Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is confident he will be a success wherever he ends up, provided he is shown some love.

"He needs to go somewhere where first of all he's happy that he's valued and if you make Kyle feel like that, he'll do well for you, simple as that," O'Neill said last week.

"If he goes to a club that really want him, really value him and he makes the right decision in terms of the move he makes, I've no doubts he'll be a good signing for any club."

Press Association

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