Taiwo Awoniyi has not scored a single Bundesliga goal yet for Mainz, despite Premier League leaders Liverpool valuing him at £10m.
Taiwo Awoniyi hasn’t exactly resembled a £10 million centre-forward this season.
That was the fee Liverpool wanted from any club interested in signing the young Nigerian on a permanent basis during the summer transfer window, according to the Liverpool Echo, with Awoniyi’s fine form on loan in Belgium then still fresh in the memory.
The 22-year-old scored seven times in just nine Jupiler League games for Royal Mouscron from January to May. And when Awoniyi was farmed out to Mainz on another short-term deal, the Reds were hoping that Awoniyi would be able to replicate that outstanding goals-per-game ratio in a much more competitive European league.
“I went to Mainz because it was where (Jurgen) Klopp started. He said ‘Taiwo you can go there and make it your home’. He said hopefully I would get my chance there and that maybe in the next one or two years the work permit is given I could come back,” he told SportingLife recently.
“This past summer they had the best opportunity to sell me to another club permanently because they had a lot of clubs that showed interest in me.
“But then they said they were not selling because they said they don’t need to sell me and that I am an amazing talent that could still blossom. This was the reason they kept me.”
Four games, no goals
It’s fair to say Mainz supporters haven’t seen anything ‘amazing’ from their new striker so far. Awoniyi endured the definition of a nightmare debut in August, coming off the bench with just minutes to go before conceding a penalty to seal a 3-0 home defeat to Freiburg.
In the last eight Bundesliga games, Awoniyi has played just 84 minutes of football. He was hooked at half-time during a recent 1-0 defeat to Fortuna Dusseldorf, having spurned Mainz’s best chance by rolling the most tame of finishes straight at the home goalkeeper when one-on-one.
His punishment? Being dropped to the bench for the visit of Cologne and, with Sandro Schwarz’s side cruising to a 3-1 win without him, a return to the starting XI looks unlikely next time out.