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Celtic & Rangers lead the pursuit of Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi

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Exclusive – Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers are set to compete for the transfer of Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi, currently on loan at Union Berlin, Bundesliga side.

Awoniyi has made 14 Bundesliga appearances so far this season and has five goals and two assists in his 10 starts, with the Union currently in the Champions League just outside the top four heading into mid -course of the campaign.

Taiwo Awoniyi, Marvin Plattenhardt
Awoniyi has become a regular starter in the Bundesliga | Maja Hitij / Getty Images

The 23-year-old’s form has caught the attention of a number of clubs. 90 mins has learned there is interest in the Premier League, even though Celtic and Rangers are leading the chase.

Awoniyi joined Liverpool in 2015, although the inability to secure a work permit for the Nigerian talent has meant he has never made an appearance for the Reds. Instead, he has spent the last five and a half years on loan at various clubs in continental Europe and Union Berlin is his sixth different team.

“It saddens me to see that it was difficult to obtain a work permit,” he lamented in 2019.

But although he never had the chance to use Awoniyi himself, Liverpool are now considering a sale as he could pocket more than £ 5million for a player for whom he paid relatively minimal fees.

With Celtic, Rangers and a few Premier League teams keeping an eye on things, his regular playing time in the Bundesliga this season could help secure the work permit he’s already hinted at. A high profile Nigerian appeal is finally signaling that this will add weight to his case.

In England, at least, the FA recently outlined the work permit requirements that now apply to all foreign players in the wake of Brexit, with particular emphasis on international appearances among seniors and youngsters and club appearances based on competition minutes.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-HERTHA BERLIN-UNION BERLIN
Any club in England or Scotland should get a work permit | ODD ANDERSEN / Getty Images

The Scottish system works slightly differently, but Rangers were able to secure a work permit for Colombia striker Alfredo Morelos in 2017 before becoming a full-fledged international and with just 18 months in Europe at Finnish club HJK Helsinki under his belt.

In addition to Awoniyi, 90 mins may reveal that Celtic and Rangers are also watching Nigerian compatriot Fatai Gbadamosi, who is currently playing for Shooting Stars in his homeland.

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