Bought from the Imperial Academy in Nigeria for just under £1m, Taiwo Awoniyi is still waiting for his work permit to play in England, which means Liverpool are loaning him out around Europe until he’s eligible for one.
First sent to FSV Frankfurt in Germany, the Nigeria U23 starlet then spent last season on loan at NEC Nijmegen in the Eredivisie, before being loaned out to Royal Excel Mouscron in the Jupiler Pro League for the current campaign.
With five goals and three assists in 17 games, the 20-year-old is certainly starting to find his feet on the pitch, something Liverpool will be pleased to see.
Although he is a regular for the Belgian side this season, his time in Holland was a bit more mixed, spending time on the bench more often than not, and a former Nigeria international was willing to save him from his situation.
Speaking to Le Soir, Sunday Oliseh, currently managing Fortuna Sittard in the Eerste Divisie explained: “I really like his physical attributes. I tried to bring him to Sittard this winter, but Holland’s second tier is less attractive”.
It seems Awoniyi preferred to stay and force his way into NEC’s side, which he never quite managed to do, than go down a level and play regular first-team football under one of Nigeria’s footballing icons.
Either way, the next step in his development, one Liverpool tried to make happen this year, will be for him to get acclimated to English football.
Once he gets his work permit.