Celtic signing their £9m summer target would add some valuable quality to their attacking ranks

Why Celtic should go back in the market for Taiwo Awoniyi

Back in August, a report from the Daily Star had claimed that Celtic were interested in signing Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi during the summer transfer window.

It was also reported back then that the 23-year-old would cost around £9million but the Hoops eventually turned their attention to other targets to bolster their attack, signing Albian Ajeti from West Ham in the process. Awoniyi, meanwhile, completed his seventh loan spell away from Anfield to join German Bundesliga outfit Union Berlin for the 2020-21 campaign.

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A product of the Imperial Soccer Academy, Taiwo Awoniyi joined Liverpool in 2015 but has failed to make a single competitive appearance for the Reds so far. He suffered relegation on loan at FSV Frankfurt in the German second-tier and NEC Nijmegen in the Eredivisie before going on to enjoy a prolific spell at Royal Excel Mouscron in the Belgian top-flight.

Union Berlin’s Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Cologne v Union Berlin in Cologne, on November 22, 2020.  (Getty Images)

An unsuccessful loan at Gent was followed by a return to Mouscron, where he once again regained his form with 11 goals in 16 appearances during the 2018-19 season. Awoniyi was snapped up on loan by Bundesliga outfit Mainz last summer but he failed to make much of an impression, scoring just once in 12 appearances in the previous campaign.

Despite his lacklustre stint at Mainz last term, Awoniyi received a second crack of the whip to prove his credentials in the German top-flight after being signed by Union Berlin this past summer. The Nigerian U-23 international recently opened his account, scoring in the club’s 2-1 win over FC Koln.

Awoniyi would add more depth to the Hoops’ attack

Things have started to fall apart for Celtic on all fronts in recent weeks after an impressive start to the 2020-21 campaign. The Hoops have won just 2 of their last 10 games in all competitions, including consecutive 4-1 defeats against Sparta Prague that has ended their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Union Berlin’s Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi heads the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Cologne v Union Berlin in Cologne, on November 22, 2020. (Getty Images)

Things recently went from bad to worse for Neil Lennon’s side as they suffered a shock exit from the Betfred Cup after a 2-0 defeat against Ross County in the second round of the competition on Sunday. Celtic’s hopes of securing a tenth straight domestic title are also in serious jeopardy, with the Hoops currently 9 points adrift of Rangers atop the league standings.

While Celtic have been far too vulnerable at the back, conceding 23 goals in their last 10 games, the attackers haven’t done an awful lot to rescue the team either. Talismanic hitman Odsonne Edouard has bagged 8 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions so far but has struggled to emulate the lofty standards set by himself in the previous campaigns.

Ajeti has proved to be a welcome addition to the squad this season but with Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala contributing very little, Celtic should look for further attacking reinforcements next summer. And reigniting interest in Taiwo Awoniyi would certainly be useful.

Union Berlin’s Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi (C) scores the opening goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Cologne v Union Berlin in Cologne, on November 22, 2020. (Getty Images)

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Verdict

The 23-year-old hasn’t always managed to hit top gear on his loan spells away from Anfield but his promising track record of goals and assists in Belgium suggest that he’s capable of delivering the goods at a decent level. Awoniyi has the experience of playing in several leagues across the continent and that should make him a valuable addition to Celtic’s attack.

Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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