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Liverpool striker Awoniyi completes £6.5m Union Berlin transfer

15:57 BST 20/07/2021
Taiwo Awoniyi 2021
The 23-year-old had been at Anfield since 2015 but wasn't able to play for the club due to work permit issues

Liverpool have confirmed that Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi has joined Union Berlin in a £6.5million (€7.5m/$9m) deal.

The Nigerian spent last season on loan with the Bundesliga outfit, but has now moved to the German capital on a permanent basis after Union beat rivals Mainz to the 23-year-old’s signature.

Awoniyi had been away with Liverpool’s first-team squad at their pre-season training camp in Austria, but underwent a medical on Tuesday ahead of his switch to Union, whose own training camp is in Tirol, before putting pen to paper on a five-year contract.

What’s the deal?

Awoniyi joined Liverpool in 2015, with the Reds paying £400,000 ($550,000) to the Imperial Soccer Academy having spotted him playing for Nigeria at the U20 World Cup in New Zealand.

Unable to secure a UK work permit, he spent the next six seasons out on a series of loans, spending time at FSV Frankfurt in the German Second Division, Eredivisie outfit NEC Nijmegen and Belgian pair Mouscron and Gent.

Then came a season with Mainz in 2019-20, before he joined Union Berlin last summer. He would go on to make 22 appearances there, scoring five times to help the unfancied club secure qualification for the UEFA Europa Conference League.

Union pursued a permanent deal aggressively thereafter, having been taken by the forward’s power, selflessness and quality.

Awoniyi had admirers in England after securing a UK work permit for the first time this summer, but interest from Stoke and West Brom failed to develop into a firm offer and he has now returned to Germany.

Liverpool have confirmed the news in a statement on their website, and Goal understands that they negotiated a 10 per cent sell-on clause in the deal, a key factor given Anfield sources insist it is likely that the player will one day end up in the Premier League.

Anyone else set to leave?

Awoniyi has followed Marko Grujic out the Anfield exit door, with the Serbian midfielder finalising a permanent switch to Porto earlier on Tuesday after a successful loan at Estadio do Dragao in 2020-21.

Meanwhile, Goal revealed on Monday that Fulham were leading the race to sign Wales international winger Harry Wilson, though Liverpool’s £15m ($20.5m) valuation looks set to remain a stumbling block.

Xherdan Shaqiri is wanted by Lazio, and Divock Origi’s future remains uncertain. Liverpool would consider deals for defenders Neco Williams and Nat Phillips, while Loris Karius will almost certainly be offloaded this summer, as will Ben Woodburn.

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