What You Need To Know About Nottingham Forest’s New Club-record Signing: Taiwo Awoniyi

Nottingham Forest have completed the signing of Nigerian international striker Taiwo Awoniyi on a club-record fee.

The 24-year-old joins The Reds from Bundesliga club Union Berlin — signing a 5-year-deal for the newly promoted Premier League club.

Awoniyi becomes Forest’s first international signing since last month’s promotion to the Premier League and he joins following an excellent season in Germany — where he scored 20 goals in 43 games across all competitions.

His 15 goals in 31 Bundesliga matches also helped Union Berlin secure a record 5th-place finish and qualification for the UEFA Europa League for the first time since 2001/02.

In this article, FootballOrbit brings all you need to know about Forest’s new signing.

Taiwo Micheal Awoniyi was born on the 12th of August 1997 in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.

He joined Lagos-based Imperial Soccer Academy in 2010 after he was spotted by the academy’s owner and former Super Eagles player, Seyi Olofinjana, at a Coca-Cola football competition in London — where he was named as the Most Valuable Player.

“One of the things we noticed about him was his height, he was really tall for his age. His mental attitude also stood out. Taiwo played like his life depended on it. He had that never-say-die attitude and he was working really hard, so we thought, ‘why not?!'”

Imperial Soccer Academy chief Atiba Bankole on recruiting a 13-year-old Awoniyi.

Awoniyi’s performances at Imperial Academy earned him a call-up to represent Nigeria at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE.

Nigeria went on to win the tournament with Taiwo scoring 4 goals and contributing an assist during the competition.

He also represented Nigeria at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand after winning the 2015 African U-20 Championship in Senegal.

On the 31st of August 2015, an 18-year-old Awoniyi signed for English Premier League club Liverpool for a fee of around £400,000 but was immediately loaned out to German 2nd division team, FSV Frankfurt.

In Germany, he made 14 appearances; scoring 1 goal and made 1 assist as Frankfurt suffered relegation to the 3rd tier. He returned to Liverpool at the end of the season.

In August 2016, Awoniyi joined Dutch team NEC on loan and made 28 appearances, scoring 8 goals with 2 assists. But the Nigerian suffered his second consecutive relegation as NEC got relegated from the Eredivisie in 2017.

Ahead of the 2017/18 season, Awoniyi joined Belgian club Royal Excel Mouscron on a season-long loan. At Mouscron, he scored 10 goals and provided 7 assists in 31 appearances.

In 2018/19, he made another season-long loan to another Belgian club, Gent — where he made 22 appearances and scored 3 goals with a single assist.

In January 2019, it was announced that his loan to Gent was cut short, and he was loaned to Mouscron again where he scored 11 goals and made 2 assists in 16 matches.

In April 2019, Awoniyi admitted that his struggle to secure a UK work permit could end his Liverpool career.

In August 2019, Liverpool confirmed Awoniyi had joined Bundesliga side Mainz 05 on another season-long loan. At Mainz, he made 12 appearances and scored 1 goal.

During his time at Mainz, he almost lost his life after sustaining a severe concussion during in a league match against FC Augsburg in June 2020.

Ahead of the 2020/21 season, Awoniyi left for his 7th loan spell; this time joining another Bundesliga side Union Berlin for a year. At Union Berlin he made 22 appearances and scored 5 goals while providing 4 assists.

At the end of the season, Union Berlin got convinced of his ability and signed him on a permanent basis. The German club reportedly paid £6.5 million for the forward while Liverpool inserted a 10% sell-on clause in the deal.

“His robustness, his dedication and his unconditional willingness to learn and develop were the deciding factors for us to give everything to make this transfer happen.”

Union sporting director Oliver Ruhnert on bringing Awoniyi to Berlin.


Union Berlin’s faith in Taiwo Awoniyi paid off immediately as he kicked off the 2021/22 on fire by scoring in three successive Bundesliga matches.

He hit his first Bundesliga brace against former team Mainz, and earned a place in Berlin derby history with his goal in a 2-0 win over city rivals, Hertha Berlin.

He became Union Berlin’s all-time record goalscorer in the Bundesliga and rounded off the campaign in style on the final day by hitting two goals in a 3-2 victory over Bochum.

His late winner in that game sealed a club-record 5th-place finish and Europa League qualification for Union.

Awoniyi ended the 2021/22 season by scoring 20 goals and provided 5 assists in 43 matches in all competitions.

His performances made him subject of transfer interest from various clubs and on the 25th of June 2022, Awoniyi completed a move to newly promoted Premier League side, Nottingham Forest, on a five-year deal.

The transfer fee paid was a club-record for Forest — reportedly £17.5 million.

International career

Taiwo Awoniyi represented Nigeria at all the various youth levels, enjoying a lot of success.

He won the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the African U-20 Championship and a bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In October 2021, he made his international debut for the Super Eagles in a 1–0 loss to the Central African Republic in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Awoniyi was selected to represent Nigeria at the AFCON 2021 where he led the line for Nigeria throughout the tournament. His only goal at the tournament came in a 3-1 group stage win against Sudan.

Playing style

Taiwo Awoniyi’s style of play has been compared to that of the legendary Rashidi Yekini — Nigeria’s all-time highest goalscorer.

Awoniyi has explosive power, speed, a poacher’s instinct and a cool head.

Leave a Reply