Exclusive - Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers are ready to compete for the transfer of Liverpool forward Taiwo Awoniyi, who is currently on loan at Bundesliga side Union Berlin.
Awoniyi has made 14 Bundesliga appearances so far this season and has five goals and two assists to show for his 10 starts, with Union currently in Champions League contention just outside of the top four as the halfway stage of the campaign approaches.
The 23-year-old’s form has caught the attention of a number of clubs. 90min has learned that there is Premier League interest, although it is Celtic and Rangers who are leading the chase.
Awoniyi joined Liverpool in 2015, although failure to secure a work permit for the Nigerian talent has meant he has never made an appearance for the Reds. Instead, he has spent the last five-and-a-half years on loan at various clubs in continental Europe and Union Berlin are his sixth different team.
“It saddens my heart that it's been difficult to get a work permit," he lamented in 2019.
But despite never having the chance to utilise Awoniyi themselves, Liverpool are now considering a sale as they could pocket more than £5m for a player they paid a relatively nominal fee for.
With Celtic, Rangers and a few Premier League sides keeping an eye on things, his regular game time in the Bundesliga this season could help secure the work permit that has previously alluded him. A senior Nigeria call-up also finally beckons that will add weight to his case.
In England, at least, the FA recently outlined work permit requirements that now apply to all overseas players in the wake of Brexit, putting particular focus on senior and youth international appearances and club appearances based on competition minutes.
The Scottish system works slightly differently, but Rangers were able to secure a work permit for Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos in 2017 prior him becoming a full international and with only 18 months in Europe at Finnish club HJK Helsinki under his belt.
In addition to Awoniyi, 90min can reveal that Celtic and Rangers are also keeping an eye on fellow Nigerian Fatai Gbadamosi, who is currently playing for Shooting Stars in his homeland.