Nigerian Striker has closed in on Premier League move.
Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest are close to sealing a deal for Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi, according to All Nigeria Soccer.
Forest was promoted to the top flight after a play-off win against Huddersfield Town, and they’re seeking to add goals to their team with the capture of the Union Berlin striker. He’s recently ascended to play for the Super Eagles, scoring his first international goal against Sudan in the 2021 AFCON.
If he seals a Premier League move, it will end an agonizing period for the striker, who was on Liverpool’s books for six years. He signed for The Reds in 2015 and was immediately loaned out to FSV Frankfurt, where he scored once in 13 matches. He spent additional time on loan with NEC, Mouscron, Gent, Mainz 05 and finally Union Berlin, where he scored five goals in 21 matches. Despite being awarded a work permit to return to Liverpool, he joined Berlin permanently for a reported fee of £6.5m (₦3.3bn).
That move has been a resounding success; he scored 15 Bundesliga goals last season, with 20 in total for his new club. He was likened to Nigerian legend Rashidi Yekini in terms of his overall game, which has alerted plenty of scouts. The Premier League newcomers appear to have got to the head of the queue, with a fee of around £18m (₦9.1bn) likely to take him to the East Midlands.
His new team certainly needs goals if they stay up this season. Forest is among the favourites for relegation in the current Premier Leage betting odds from Ladbrokes, which is little surprise. More often than not, one or more of the promoted teams end up suffering relegation, and Steve Cooper’s men have only appeared in England’s top-flight once since 1997. They were in the relegation spots in the Championship when Cooper took over, but their performances saw them rocket up the table, due in no small part to exciting young winger Brennan Johnson. Unlike Awoniyi, Johnson will be at the World Cup in Qatar this winter, and he will be hoping to provide the crosses for their new signing to gobble up.
It’s believed Awoniyi has turned down the chance to stay in Germany with RB Leipzig, wishing to try his luck in the Premier League after his frustrations with Liverpool. He can only hope to be as successful as another African player, the benevolent Sadio Mane, who has recently left the Premier League. The Liverpool and Senegal striker, who won the Premier League and Champions League whilst with the Reds and twice finished runner-up in the Champions League, has recently signed for Bayern Munich. He’s made the trip from England to Germany, with Awoniyi going the other way.
Nigerian players have found the Premier League a happy hunting ground. During his time with Chelsea, Jon Obi Mikel won the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, two Premier League titles, and three FA Cups, whilst Yakubu appeared for no fewer than six different top-flight teams (Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Reading). The most successful Nigerian of all time in England was perhaps Kanu Nwankwo. He was part of the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2003/04, a side which went a whole season without defeat.
If Awoniyi can achieve even a small portion of the trio’s success, he’ll be a solid signing for Nottingham Forest.