Liverpool Might Live To Regret The Sale Of Red-Hot Taiwo Awoniyi
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Taiwo Awoniyi arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 2015 as a player to keep an eye on. Due to work permit regulations, the then-18-year-old was immediately loaned out to FSV Frankfurt in Germany's 2.Bundesliga.
The next few years brought much of the same as the Nigerian was shipped off on six more loan spells, some more successful than others.
He struggled in the Netherlands with NEC, scoring two goals in 18 appearances while suffering his second consecutive relegation. His next venture to the low countries was more successful as he scored 10 goals and provided seven assists in 31 games for Belgian side Mouscron. He returned to Belgium with KAA Gent, but an unproductive half-season saw him finish out the campaign with another stint at Mouscron. He found his rhythm back in more familiar surroundings, scoring seven goals in nine games.
That form attracted suitors from the Bundesliga, where Awoniyi would end up spending the 2019/20 campaign with Mainz. It was there that he endured perhaps his most difficult loan spell, as he totaled just 475 minutes over 12 appearances all season and scored only one goal.
Awoniyi next found himself in the German capital with Union Berlin. While his formidable strength was constantly on display, his goalscoring form was patchy — he scored in three consecutive games over the winter before his production dropped off, and he was then plagued by a torn muscle bundle which kept him out for months.
Despite troubles with inconsistency, Union saw enough in the 24-year-old to bring him back on a permanent basis. On early evidence, the $8.25 million Union paid Liverpool to secure his return looks as though it could prove a bargain. Awoniyi has scored in each of the club's three Bundesliga games so far and notched twice in the UEFA Conference League against Finnish side KuPS while also providing two assists so far.
Taiwo Awoniyi this season has been on pic.twitter.com/seY2AfUQUF
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) August 29, 2021
Awoniyi and Max Kruse have dovetailed wonderfully in the early days of the campaign, with the veteran providing the assist on three of Awoniyi's five goals, most recently to finish off a breakaway in the win over Borussia Monchengladbach.
Taiwo Awoniyi's goal for Union Berlin v Leverkusen at the weekend pic.twitter.com/iCMG54D1fE— James Nalton (@JDNalton) August 19, 2021
Of his budding partnership with the Kruse, Awoniyi said, “He has a lot of experience in the game. He knows everything he wants to do every time he has the ball ... Once you play with him, he knows where you are, you know where he is, and I think this has helped me to learn a lot… it’s good for both of us at the moment."
With rumors swirling that Roberto Firmino could be out of action for a spell due to injury and a lack of signings in the transfer window, Liverpool fans may be questioning whether the club would have been better suited giving Awoniyi a chance to make the cut at Anfield after seeing his scorching hot form. Liverpool finds itself with only Diogo Jota and Takumi Minamino to call on, with Divock Origi possibly moving on after years of slowly seeing his playing time decline.
After spending so much time attempting to secure a work permit and adapting to new countries and languages, nobody could begrudge Awoniyi his hard-earned success. If he can maintain steady production over the course of the campaign he could well prove the signing of the season for Union.