Six months on from his release, former Liverpool goalkeeper Liam Hughes has now signed for a new club, agreeing a surprise free transfer to Scandinavia.
Hughes was initially signed by Liverpool in 2021 as a training goalkeeper, joining from Celtic to bulk out the academy squads.
But the Northern Irishman went on to warm the bench twice for the first team – against Sheffield United in the Premier League and Preston in the Carabao Cup in 2021 – as well as being called up to his national team.
His time on Merseyside ended in July, though, as one of 10 players released at the end of last season.
Until this week, he was one of just two of those yet to have found a new club, but Hughes has now joined Finnish side FC Haka on a free transfer.
FC Haka ja maalivahti Liam Hughes ovat allekirjoittaneet 2-vuotisen pelaajasopimuksen??
– Liam on erittäin hyvä nuori maalivahti, jonka olen nähnyt Liverpoolissa ja myös kansainvälisillä kentillä Pohjois-Irlannin paidassa, Andy Smith summaa.
— FC Haka Valkeakoski (@FCHakaOfficial) January 12, 2024
The 22-year-old has signed a two-year contract with the Veikkausliiga side, who are preparing for a 2024 campaign that begins in the Liigacup later this month.
His arrival comes weeks after the appointment of countryman Andy Smith as manager, with Hughes convinced by the opportunity to challenge for the first-choice starting spot at a top-tier club.
“We had already met before in Liverpool, but a few weeks ago I got a call where I heard that Andy wanted to meet me,” Hughes, who will wear the No. 1 shirt, explained.
“We met the next day and he told me all about the club and the project and what this could do for my career.”
Hughes added: “I have a few goals for the next couple of years in my career, but the most important thing right now is to get in and show the team the best version of myself and that I’m good enough to represent this club.
“Hopefully, with my own contribution, I can help the team succeed in the coming season.”
Following Hughes’ deal with FC Haka, the sole player released by Liverpool in the summer who is yet to officially sign for a new side is striker Fidel O’Rourke.
Fellow academy departures Oludare Olufunwa (St Johnstone), Jack Bearne (Greenock Morton), Charlie Hayes-Green (Bolton) and Iwan Roberts (Bala Town) have all landed elsewhere.