Taiwo Awoniyi chooses another red path south of Merseyside to make English Premier League history for Nottingham Forest after Liverpool forced him to exchange their red as IKENWA NNABUOGOR sees the positive side of his second Premier League coming…
Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi continues his romance with the red colour after he turned a hero at City Ground in the Premier League to announce Nottingham Forest arrival in the English top flight after 23 years in the wilderness, with a sweet but hard earned 1-0 defeat of West Ham.
Awoniyi needed a fluke of a goal to break the Hammers’ hearts and throw Nottingham into wild celebrations as Forest welcomed themselves back to the Premier League with a win before the delirious home fans.
This historic victory emptied thousands of faithful into the streets of Nottingham as the carnival lasted through the night.
Ecstatic manager Steve Cooper entertained the City Ground faithful, putting his clenched fists in the air in rhythm with the fans’ ecstasy as his wards walked off the pitch with their heads held high.
Cooper had paid a premium £17.5 million to make Awoniyi Forest most expensive signing with the full confidence that the former Merseyside Red would help justify their brand new Premier League status and it appears Awoniyi has come to accomplish his mission.
Spotting his trademark smiles which the commentators have some kinds words for, Awoniyi, who had debuted as a substitute penultimate weekend at Newcastle United, appeared battle-ready to bring something new to Forest, harassing, bullying and busying the West Ham defence with his quickness, darting runs and power.
Caught a few times offside in his highly entertaining full debut, his resilience yielded a massive result, not only deciding the game but also etching his name in the annals of Forest history after netting their Premier League comeback goal after 23 years.
Awoniyi, keeping a date with red colours after ending his long romance with Liverpool, and also spotting red on loan at Union Berlin, Mainz and Belgium’s Excelsior Mouscron, advancing Forest red will keep him red-alert for the Nottingham job.
Liverpool grabbed the youngster over after helping the Golden Eaglets win their fourth FIFA U17 World Cup title in United Arab Emirates in 2013, but he never got to play for them.
The closest he came to becoming a Kop was last season after manager Jurgen Klopp beamed with smiles having his ward back and including him on his squad list for pre-season buildup games ahead of last season.
But all those smiles seemed to temporal as Liverpool shockingly sold him to Union Berlin, thus ending his seven years with the six-time UEFA Champions League champions.
That will be all to play for Awoniyi, who became Forest gain after finally leaving the Merseyside after seven loan moves, and he appears to begin a job that could make him one of the biggest Forest’s greats.
Awoniyi could be following the footsteps of greats like Peter Shilton, Trevor Francis, Des Walker, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Stuart Pearce, Viv Anderson and Nigel Clough and overall top performances could guarantee him this status.
Awoniyi could be scoring Forest’s way back to the UEFA Champions League and bring back memories of the triumphs in the last 1980s, when Forest won the title back to back.
That would be a tall order for Awoniyi and the Premier League new comers, but achieving this feat cannot be completely ruled out, but it will take something extra ordinary for Cooper’s men to achieve.
Could Liverpool be ruing letting this striker go after all?
It’s too early to predict this now, but his performances in the long run either at Forest or elsewhere when he has moved on to bigger clubs could make Liverpool have a rethink.
Awoniyi’s consistency since he moved to Europe has caught the eye admirably and that among others, including his goals, earned him his current price tag status and an English Premier League player at last.
Experiences in Germany, Holland and Belgium are in tandem with his confidence on the ball and his drive going forward in search of goals.
Tough beginning at FSV Frankfurt in the German second-tier was only preparing him for bigger challenges and Awoniyi is surely on the right path to take his game to another level and his future is very much assured.
Thanks to Liverpool for what their former boy has become over the years as his maturity on the pitch will surely stand the test of time.
It’s argued that Awoniyi was good enough for a place at Liverpool as one of the covers for Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, but Klopp refused to have a luxury of patience for his ward to mature into a fully finished Liverpool product.
It will only get better for the four-cap Super Eagle, who fans have queried the national team handlers for having him in the fringes whereas he should be competing for shirt with Victor Osimhen, the current Eagles’ point man.
Forest, arguably one of the busiest on the transfer market in the English top flight, smashed Awoniyi’s transfer fee by bringing over compatriot Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis from relegated Watford in a fresh £20 million club transfer record deal to add bite to the attacking line, which also includes former Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard.
Forest definitely do not wish to make the numbers in Premier League as they added more power as well as bringing Nigerian flavour to the City Ground, their faithful will surely have a fill of it as Dennis brings power, skill and intelligence for a kill.
Awoniyi will surely welcome his Super Eagles mate with open arms and the opponents will expect a fiery exchange of power all to the advantage of the Premier League new entrants.
Who knows Awoniyi could even be heading back to Liverpool, this time a finished Red article?.