The Iron Ones moved closer to Europe after defeating Frankfurt on Sunday and their Nigerian export was again at the centre of it all
Taiwo Awoniyi’s career is far from the perfect play, but it offers a theatrical masterpiece that keeps the audience glued, waiting for the next scene at every point.
The Nigerian’s time at Liverpool would have been the stuff of the fondest dreams but reality had other plans. It was as clear as shadowy but offered a direction as to what could be the perfect ground to rise from.
As a Liverpool player, Awoniyi went on loan seven times to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands and those moves eventually became important to his career. Still far from the finished element, his failure to get an invitation to the Super Eagles, sometimes unfairly, extinguished his chance to fight for a shirt, even as a squad player at Liverpool.
Injuries also became an albatross and for a young attacker, coming straight from where Awoniyi had emerged from, it took special courage to get his acts together and not implode at the height of challenges.
Union Berlin offered the perfect opportunity to thrive with reduced pressure. After playing with the capital club for six months, they’d seen enough to dip hands into their purse and splash the cash on the Nigerian. It has been an excellent investment in terms of value addition and resale power.
This season, Awoniyi has represented the Super Eagles in a major tournament and has no issues with his work permit again. He has also been impressive in the Bundesliga despite seeing his form suffer a shock after the departure of Max Kruse.
Kruse typified the height of the system that beat suits Awoniyi. He thrives off support behind and was always a handful playing just ahead of the German.
It took some weeks for the attacker to get back to scoring after Kruse was allowed to leave for Wolfsburg but he has soon bounced back and is impressive again.
Awoniyi’s 13 goals in the Bundesliga this season is the highest ever scored by a Union Berlin player in the Bundesliga and in just more than one season, the attacker has become a cult hero at the club.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 17, 2022
His present status makes him very much a fans’ favourite but the club knows it’s a logical resolution to allow the player leave if better offers come. What one must ask howbeit, is if a move favours Awoniyi at the moment.
By the time the transfer window opens and businesses are ongoing, the attacker will be 25, an age good enough for an attacker to hit his peak. The past few years have been a special learning curve for the attacker and he may fancy a move away from the Bundesliga with interests believed to be growing from the Premier League. That, however may not be of sound judgement.
It’s every Nigerian footballer’s dream to star in the Premier League for reasons too clear to be debated, but many have also made the move when they are least ready.
Gangling, powerful and level-headed, Awoniyi’s characteristics as an attacker will make him a fit for the Premier League but the timing of the move may be coming too early, especially considering he’s only had just one full successful season in the Bundesliga.
He needs to hone his craft, perfect his qualities and improve on his weaknesses, some of which are a bypass in the Bundesliga but will be highlighted in the Premier League.
The pace of English football has similarities with the Bundesliga but the expectations are much more massive.
Awoniyi should fancy spending more time in the Bundesliga, make the league his, especially considering he’s settled with his family in Germany and should establish himself as a true Union hero.
Union Berlin are on the verge of playing in Europe next season again, and it will be a perfect chance for the attacker to gain more experience and exposure in continental football.
The last one year has undeniably been the best of his career and he should enjoy it as much as he can, and etch his name further in a major European league.
As long as he keeps firing and scoring, the Premier League will always be the destination, but it’s better done with patience, than hastened.
The moment is a hot, spicy stew, it’s to be enjoyed a little at a time, else it burns the tongue.