27 Aug 2015

Transfer Confirmation: 'Wonderful' striker flying in 'this week' to 'sign with Liverpool', claims Nigeria spokesman

Earlier this month, AfricanFootball.com claimed that Liverpool were on the verge of signing Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi, and according Nigeria U23 spokesman Timi Ebikagboro, the deal will be sealed within a few days.

When asked on Wednesday about Awoniyi's future, Ebikagboro told AfricanFootball.com:

“He [Awoniyi] will leave this week for England to sign his contract with Liverpool and that is why he is not here training with us for the All Africa Games".

Some info about Awoniyi:

* Represented Nigeria at U15, U17 and U20 levels.

* Oct 2013: Helped Nigeria win the U17 World Cup.

* On the books at Swedish side Kalmar FF (1 goal/2 assists in 2 games so far), but the club is resigned to losing Awoniyi when he turns 18.

* According to Kalmar's sports director Andersson Borstam: "There's been around 10-15 clubs who are interested in him [Awoniyi], and it is likely that he ends up in a big club".

* Manchester United 'representatives' spoke with Awoniyi re a possible transfer to Old Trafford, but interest died off due to uncertainty over registration rights.

* Awoniyi is a Chelsea fan, and playing for the London club is one of his 'dreams'.

* Apr 2015: Kogi United's goalkeeper coach, Wasiu Lawal, told SL10: "He [Awoniyi] is a very wonderful striker. I give him all the credit for Nigeria’s qualification to the All Africa Games. The whole team did a very good job, but he stands tall".

* Oct 2013: Ghana legend Asamoah Gyan is also impressed, and after watching Awoniyi play for Nigeria, told FIFA.com: "I like him, that No18, Awoniyi, he is a good player. He does all the work up there and creates a lot. This is my kind of player.”

* Nov 2013: Upon hearing Gyan's praise, Awoniyi enthused: “Wow. He [Gyan] is such a great striker and he knows that it isn’t always about scoring. A lot of times you have to work hard so that your team-mates can be the ones to get the goals.”

As noted many times, no non-British attacking player has ever made it through the Academy to become a first-team regular at Liverpool, so Awoniyi will face the same problems as countless other promising attackers over the years.

On the plus side, Awoniyi appears to have the right attitude to succeed, but like so many others, he'll probably be corrupted by the pernicious greed and avarice at the heart of the modern game.

Until then, Awoniyi is a man of simple tastes, and in comparison to pampered, grossly overpraised players like Raheem Sterling, he is refreshingly down to earth. Indeed, after winning the U-17 World Cup, Awoniyi told FIFA.com:

“It [winning] changed the lives of most of us, many got clubs abroad and changed the lives of our families. I was able to build a house for myself, like most of the other players in the team.”

Pretty humbling stuff. I'll take a player with this attitude over Sterling and his blinged up cronies every day of the week.

Author: Jaimie K


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