Bundesliga outfit Mainz have confirmed they have held talks with Liverpool over a deal to keep Nigerian forward Taiwo Awoniyi.
The 22-year-old moved to the Opel Arena last summer on a season’s loan and had struggled initially. But Awoniyi has improved dramatically since the resumption of the Bundesliga, recently scoring his first goal for the club.
And Awoniyi also came in for praise after starring in the 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt last time out.
Now Mainz manager Rouven Schroder has confirmed talks with Liverpool over keeping the player.
“I am very, very positive about him,” Schroder told Bild. “Taiwo never let himself down, always had his head up and the absolute will to improve was never negative. It is a symbol of how team sport works.
“We are in an exchange with Liverpool, that is an open position. We are now waiting for the last games. Then we’ll see what the next steps are.”
Awoniyi’s deal at Mainz runs until June 30, with the Bundesliga ending just three days prior.
The player has been at Anfield since 2015, but is yet to play a game for the club over work permit issues.
That has seen him loaned out to the likes of FSV Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen, Royal Excel Mouscron and Gent. During two spells with the Belgians, he scored a combined 21 goals and claimed 10 assists in 47 appearances.
Awoniyi holds Liverpool hope
Although it remains uncertain he will ever get a chance at Liverpool, Awoniyi hopes his form in Germany has alerted the Reds.
“Coming here is just to make myself better. Even without playing for a while, coming in on Sunday just really shows I’ve really improved since coming to Germany. That’s the goal with being on loan,” he said last month on Liverpool’s official website.
“I don’t think I’m the same player as I was in the last few years. Personally, I have seen improvement in my game and I believe most Liverpool coaches have seen that as well.
“I just have to be prepared to improve myself and work on my weak points as well. When I’m back at LFC, I hope they will see that.”