Liverpool's Taiwo Awoniyi discusses future plans after reported Celtic interest
Celtic-linked Taiwo Awoniyi has been discussing his long-term future as he admitted he only has eyes on a Liverpool career.
Awoniyi was reported as interesting both Celtic and Rangers over the course of January. 90 Min claimed that there was also Premier League interest in the young Nigerian, curently on loan at Union Berlin.
He’s had a productive campaign with the Bundesliga club so far. In 20 appearances for them, Awoniyi has managed to make nine direct goal contributions made up of five goals and four assists. He’s netted against the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart, and Werder Bremen this season respectively.
And as he continues to shine with the team ranked 7th in Germany, Awoniyi has been discussing his long-term future. It’s clear, despite the interest, that he’s only looking to secure a long-term future in Merseyside.
“My dream has always been to play in the Premier League”
As quoted by World Soccer Magazine [March edition, page 70], Awoniyi said: “Liverpool will always be the priority for me and I am grateful to everyone at the club. I still don’t have the work permit to play in England. But with the new rules in place, and the minutes I have played in Germany this season, no one knows what the future will hold regarding the UK work permit
“If I become eligible to play in the UK, I think I can have a say on what my decision will be. Things have changed remarkably with the new rules and this will certainly help me decide my next step.
“Liverpool is a very special club. They are always in contact to see how I am doing and to ensure I know that they are following my progress out here. It motivates me to know my parent club is following up and have my best interests at heart. Presently, I am still a Liverpool player until the last day of my contract, but no one knows what the future holds.
“My dream has always been to play in the Premier League and it’s why I signed for Liverpool. I still keep the dream alive but if leaving will facilitate it, why not? At the moment, it is impossible to say what might happen in the future.”
Taiwo Awoniyi – a potential Odsonne Edouard replacement?
Like it or not, Celtic are going to be in the market for a new centre-forward come the summer. Odsonne Edouard will be departing the club considering he only has a year remaining on his contract. Any speculation to the contrary is far too optimistic to entertain.
That’s going to leave a big gap at the club. Celtic can’t afford not to replace the Frenchman. Yes we have Albian Ajeti, Patryk Klimala, and Leigh Griffiths available, but not one has managed to break through and be a regular starter this season.
That’s an issue for Celtic ahead of the summer. The likes of Awoniyi will be being discussed once again, and he fits the pedigree of a player who could follow in Eddy’s footsteps. Yet the 23-year-old would also come to Parkhead an extremely experienced player having played in Sweden, Holland, Belgium, and now Germany.
The one aspect that Celtic may be concerned about however is his overall goal return. Despite his vast experience, Awoniyi has hardly been prolific. Combining his spells with Mainz, Frankfurt, NEC Nijmengen, and Gent respectively, the Nigerian under-23 international has 13 goals in 76 appearances. His return with Royal Excel Mouscron, however, seen him bag 21 goals in 47 outings [Transfermarkt].
There are also potential work permit issues as Awoniyi has mentioned. He doesn’t yet even have a permit to play football in England. This could be why he’s yet to make a single Liverpool appearance since signing for them back in 2015.
Given his lack of an international cap with the Nigeria senior squad, that could prove an issue. Regardless, without getting too far ahead of ourselves, Awoniyi will likely be available in the summer. It’ll be interesting to see if Celtic make a move.