Celtic are reportedly in for on-loan Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi.
Awoniyi’s contract is owned by Liverpool, but the forward has been on loan for the last five-and-a-half years. Having endured spells with clubs including Mouscroun, Mainz and Gent, the Nigerian striker is enjoying his most fruitful spell in Berlin.
According to 90min, Jürgen Klopp’s side are looking for around £5m for the underused striker. Rangers and Premier League clubs are also said to be interested.
Awoniyi has scored 40 career goals since 2014, with 5 coming in 13 games for Union Berlin. Union are just outside the Champions League places in the Bundesliga (Sky Sports), in just their second season following promotion.
Awoniyi has faced work permit issues, meaning that he hasn’t been able to develop in Merseyside. Liverpool signed him from Nigeria’s Imperial Academy for just under £1m in 2015 (Transfermarkt).
However, he hasn’t accrued the required number of international caps to have secured the right to work in the UK.
Now, with Awoniyi winning acclaim in the Bundesliga, a senior Nigeria cap is calling. That would surely help his case for a return to a UK-based football club.
Liverpool may end up wishing to take a chance on their investment, having loaned him out repeatedly. However, it’s beginning to look increasingly like the Reds will make a profit on Awoniyi, despite never playing him.
Are Celtic a good fit for Taiwo Awoniyi?
Odsonne Edouard likely to move on, and Leigh Griffiths has struggled for consistent fitness at Celtic. Albian Ajeti hasn’t impressed since joining for £4.5m (BBC), while Patryk Klimala is a work-in-progress.
Celtic will have likely scouted Taiwo Awoniyi previously, given his availability on loan.
£5m for a striker who’s never hit double figures in a league season, though? It seems like one heck of an investment for a centre forward who, at 23, hasn’t scored enough goals.
Awoniyi may have a long and successful career. His struggles have largely been bureaucratic rather than performance-based.
In 2019, he told the BBC:
“It saddens my heart that it’s been difficult to get a work permit for the past four years.
“Everyone knows the importance of the work permit and how it works, and that you’d need to play for your national team.
“If you don’t get a chance with your national team then it becomes difficult to get it.
“Personally, I chose Liverpool because I would love to play in the English Premier League for Liverpool.
“If God says it will happen then it will, but if not then I can only go on with my life and career.”