Los Angeles - Niall Horan is set to release a solo album.
The 22-year-old One Direction singer has reportedly been in negotiations with the band's label Syco about signing a deal for his own music, with his first single expected to be released next year.
A source told The Sun: "Niall is the band's secret weapon - Modest Management and Syco believe he has what it takes to become a 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."
The publication reports that Niall's bandmates, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, are all keeping busy with their own projects, putting the future of the band in doubt.
Louis, 24, has reportedly left the band's management company to sign with the James Grant Group, which looks after a host of TV stars, as he plans to focus on producing and presenting.
As previously revealed, Harry, 22, is currently filming Dunkirk but it has been claimed that he is planning his own solo material while Liam, 22, is considering his options.
Meanwhile, Simon Cowell, who put the band together on The X Factor, recently admitted he is unsure if they will ever get back together.
He said: "I don't know if it's a hiatus or a break-up, to be honest.
"In a weird way, I don't want to know. I don't think they've had enough time to experience what it's like not being in the group to really answer that."