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In Focus: Why Forest broke their club record for hotshot Awoniyi
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Matthew Storey
Nottingham Forest will hope record signing Taiwo Awoniyi can fire them to safety
Nottingham Forest will hope record signing Taiwo Awoniyi can fire them to safety

Nottingham Forest made their first signing of the summer by swooping for Nigerian hotshot Taiwo Awoniyi.

The Reds splashed out a club-record £17.5million on the Union Berlin marksman after he netted 15 Bundesliga goals last term.

We look at what Awoniyi will bring to the table as Forest prepare for their first top-flight season since 1999.

Man in demand

Steve Cooper and Forest look to have pulled off a coup just to land the 24-year-old.

As well as other unnamed Premier League clubs, German high-fliers Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig had both been credited with an interest in recent weeks.

Cooper said: "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’s chosen Nottingham Forest.

"Our recruitment and coaching teams have been monitoring his progress closely over the last few months. 

"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."

Taiwo Awoniyi found the back of the net 15 times in the Bundesliga last term
Taiwo Awoniyi found the back of the net 15 times in the Bundesliga last term

Upgrading options

Forest navigated the second half of last season with Lewis Grabban, Sam Surridge and Keinan Davis as their forward options.

They looked most dangerous when Davis was fit and he was brought into the side for the play-off final despite Surridge’s good goalscoring form.

That was because of his speed, intelligent runs and power — traits that Cooper is a big fan of.

Awoniyi offers all of that, plus a much more clinical edge to his game. He is calm in front of goal, as shown with 25 strikes in 65 games for Union.

Link play

Awoniyi spent six years on the books at Liverpool, even though he was out on loan for much of that time.

Roberto Firmino is one of the best strikers in the world when it comes to bringing others into play and Awoniyi is a big fan of the Reds' No9.

Last year, he explained: "I’ve always said I loved to watch Roberto Firmino. The difference with him is that he makes it so easy for his other forwards. 

"For players and people who really watch football, they know that not every striker can do what Firmino does as a centre forward. 

"Sometimes, you don’t find him in the centre forward position, he comes into midfield, and not every striker can do this.

"For me, I always said it’s important to watch him and understand what he does."

He created 27 opportunities and four big chances for team-mates last year — a figure he will want to improve on this term.


Taiwo Awoniyi's shot map from the 2021-22 campaign
Taiwo Awoniyi's shot map from the 2021-22 campaign

Though he went on loan seven times during his spell at Liverpool and never played for Merseysiders, Awoniyi has some familiarity with English football.

He spent periods of pre-season with the Reds and will know how physical it can be.

Though it might take a little bit of time to settle in, the Premier League will not be as new to Awoniyi as it is to many signings from overseas.

On arrival, he 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."

Ringing endorsement

A Nigerian international, Awoniyi often lines up alongside Napoli hotshot Victor Osimhen for his country.

Osimhen is one of the most sought after strikers in Europe and could not have spoken more highly of his fellow countrymen.

He said: "Awoniyi will move to Premier League and he will smash it. He was in the top three best players in the Bundesliga last season. He was scoring regularly at Union Berlin.

"Moving to Nottingham Forest shows that he believes in himself. He will still go higher, and make bigger moves.

"I believe in Awoniyi completely, and I’m happy for him. And definitely, he will prove his doubters wrong."


Premier LeagueNottingham ForestUnion Berlin
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