SUPER Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi has completed a club record move to English Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest after the side agreed to a £17.5m (€20.5m) transfer with his German clubside Union Berlin.
In a deal which shatters Nottingham Forest’s previous record when it paid £13.5m for Joao Carvalho in 2018, Awoniyi has signed a five year contract with Forest. Having just passed his medical, Awoniyi is now poised to realise what he described as a childhood dream to play in the English Premier League.
Awoniyi, 24 began his senior career at Liverpool in 2015 but never played a single minute for the Reds, mainly due to work permit problems. He was loaned out a staggering seven times to various clubs in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium before finally leaving Anfield last year for Union Berlin.
Bundesliga side Union Berlin paid just under £6m for Awoniyi at the time, choosing to re-sign the striker following a decent loan spell the previous season. Repaying Union Berlin’s faith in him, Awoniyi smashed in 20 goals and provided five assists in 43 games for the club last season, helping them to a best-ever Bundesliga finish of fifth place.
Firmly established as a reliable striker, Awoniyi ended up as the German top-flight’s sixth top goal scorer, which was an impressive feat considering some of the names ahead of him were Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, and Christopher Nkunku. It is expected that Awoniyi will be the first of many signings this summer as the Nottingham Forest owners back the club’s recruitment team to assemble squad capable of staying in the Premier League.
Awoniyi said: “I’m very excited to be here at Nottingham Forest. It’s always been my dream to play in the Premier League and having spoken to Steve Cooper about our ambitions and looking at Forest, with its great history, it’s a club that I want to be part of.”
Nottingham Forest manager Cooper added: “There’s been a lot of interest in Taiwo from other Premier League clubs and other clubs across Europe, so we’re delighted that he has chosen Nottingham Forest. Our recruitment and coaching teams have been monitoring his progress closely over the last few months and he’s a player who we really believe in and we look forward to him going on to fulfil his potential and become a top Premier League striker with Nottingham Forest.”
With four senior caps to his name now, Awoniyi has represented and played for Nigeria in the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon and has also featured in World Cup qualifiers. He is seen as an ideal targetman who would fit in to the English style of play as he can lead the line well and hold the ball up well with his back to goal.
In August 1981 another Nigerian striker Justin Fashanu, became Britain’s first black footballer valued at over £1m, when he signed for Nottingham Forest for a record £1.3m. Awoniyi is part of a major recruitment drive at Forest, who are expected to sign a few more big names over the coming weeks.