Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi has become the subject of interest amongst Celtic following a report from The Daily Star.
Awoniyi, 23, is a player some supporters will not have heard of given he has spent the last five years of his professional career out on loan.
The report claims that the Scottish champions have identified a move for the Nigerian forward who Liverpool currently value at around £9 million.
Awoniyi signed a contract extension with Liverpool back in 2018 which is due to expire in 2023.
Taiwo Awoniyi has signed a new long-term contract with #LFC.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 17, 2018
Celtic are looking at bolstering their forward options to remain ahead of the game should their star player Odsonne Edouard depart the club.
Edouard, 22, has been a prime target of a number of Premier League clubs, not including Liverpool having scored 27 goals last season while registering an equally impressive 19 assists.
He already has four goals to his name this time around.
An option that should be considered
Despite Liverpool’s stance on the Celtic forward currently an ambiguous prospect, a future move for Edouard is something former Scotland manager Gordan Strachan claims should be in the immediate interest of Liverpool.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Strachan said: “Listen, if you had Edouard with Mane and Salah on either side of him, wow! There you go.
“Can he get to that level? That’s down to him. All I know is he’s showing things that great players show.
“He’s also got that height and strength to go along with it. You even wonder if his physical presence will get even better over time.”
Following on Celtic’s elimination from Champions League qualification at the hands of Ferencvaros, the prospect of Edouard leaving becomes all the more likely.
Manager Neil Lennon certainly didn’t hide his frustration following the club’s earliest exit from the competition in 15 years.
“Get your mentality right, get your attitude right. If some of you don’t want to be here, leave”, the Celtic boss said.
Asked if his impression was some players don’t want to be at the club, he responded: “In some cases.”
Luckily for Celtic, there is still time to improve their squad options and Awoniyi has been earmarked a potential option to add some attacking flair to Lennon’s forward line.
The Nigeria Under-23 international spent last season on loan at Jurgen Klopp’s former side Mainz having previously endured loan spells with Royal Excel Mouscron, Gent, NEC and Frankfurt.
What RTK has to say
This is an ideal situation that both Liverpool and more importantly Micahel Edwards can utilise to their advantage.
Awoniyi’s prospects at Liverpool do not look promising given the limited impact the forward has made over the previous five seasons.
With that said, Liverpool could look at offloading Awoniyi in an attempt to land Edouard either this summer or in 2021.
While Liverpool are unlikely to pay that sort of money this summer window given the current economic climate, landing a respectable fee for Awoniyi could keep ensure Liverpool are in Celtic’s good books should they look to move for Edouard in the future.
Celtic have proven themselves as a formidable force in developing up-and-coming superstars which Liverpool themselves have directly benefited from following their acquisition of former Celtic star Virgil van Dijk.
Even if his price-tag continues to rise as his development takes speed, Liverpool should continue to monitor Edouard.
The argument for a new striker is that Liverpool’s pedigreed front-three Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all 28 and cannot be expected to carry the attacking burden at Anfield forever.
It is important that Liverpool remain proactive and look for options to uncover a new dynamic if Liverpool’s current attacking trident were ever to gradually decline in performance levels.
Klopp and Edwards have showcased in the past that the club tends to avoid shopping at the top end of the market with the club reluctant to pay the extortionate transfer fees that come with world superstars such as Kylian Mbappe, Jadon Sancho and Kai Havertz.
Instead, Liverpool look to find future world-beaters in uncharted areas of the footballing pyramid and Edouard certainly fits that criteria.
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