Championship rivals West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City are both in the race for Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi according to Goal, with German side Mainz also interested in signing the 23-year-old.
As per the same report, the Nigerian has finally qualified for a UK work permit after playing out on loan in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium since he signed for Liverpool way back in 2017.
However, his seven spells out on loan have not improved his first-team chances at Anfield and the two Championship sides could be about to take advantage of this latest development on his work permit, with Liverpool likely to be willing to negotiate a cut-price deal for the 23-year-old to get him off the wage books.
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After an unsettled six years at the club, Awoniyi is also likely to want a permanent move away to a location where he can settle down, whether that’s in England or Germany.
Mainz could have the edge on their Championship competitors, with the Nigerian spending time with the German club in the 2019/20 campaign. But after coming to England and waiting for so long to get clearance to play – a fresh start in the Midlands may be a preferable option for a man who has unfinished business in this country.
He would follow Alex Mowatt into the Hawthorns as West Brom’s second signing of the summer with the Barnsley captain set to link up with his former boss, or he may well decide to join Michael O’Neill at Stoke as Benik Afobe moves closer to a temporary exit from the bet365 Stadium.
If both second-tier sides make an acceptable offer to Liverpool, he will have a great choice between two teams that desperately need a striker to come in.
Kenneth Zohore may be on his way back to the Baggies after the expiration of his loan at Millwall, but the losses of Charlie Austin, Hal Robson-Kanu and Mbaye Diagne’s return to Galatasary has left Valerien Ismael short of options going forward, so this move would make perfect sense.
He would also be a much cheaper option to pursue than Daryl Dike, who had an £18m release clause in his loan agreement with Barnsley last season and still has time left on his deal at Orlando City.
At Stoke, advanced midfielder Nick Powell was their top scorer in the Championship last season with 12 goals in 39 appearances and they will want to recruit a striker to take Powell’s crown next season.
This move would be especially important with Afobe’s imminent move to Millwall and Lee Gregory and Sam Vokes’ futures at the club looking more uncertain, giving 34-year-old Steven Fletcher no real competition.
If Awoniyi wants to guarantee himself as much first-team football as possible, both English options look good for the 23-year-old, but West Brom are more likely to splash out on a forward in the latter stages of the window in their quest for promotion.
Stoke is the safe and sensible option but West Brom is perhaps the more exciting, unless Michael O’Neill can surprise everyone next season.