It seemed that Niall Horan was happy to take a sidestep out of the music business in favour of launching his golf agency, but music has not quite been pushed to the background, if reports are true.

The Sun say that the Mullingar man is on the verge of signing a record deal with Simon Cowell's label Syco and will be managed by Modest, the same company that steered 1D to global fame.

They quote their source as saying: "Niall is the band’s secret weapon — Modest and Syco believe he has what it takes to become a break out solo star. He has the songwriting and music talent, good looks and cheeky Irish personality which made him a favourite in the States. A deal with Syco is going to be signed in the coming weeks and Niall is already back in the studio writing.

“There’s a hit single there too, which will probably be released early next year.”

Many had assumed that Harry Styles would be the first to release a solo single - but with him chopping his hair off for a role in Christopher Nolan's new film Dunkirk, it seems that he may have been sidetracked by the bright lights of Hollywood.

Horan is set to beat his former bandmates Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne to the punch, with the former reportedly interested in developing a TV career and a behind-the-scenes music career, and the latter on an "extended break from all work."