Report: West Ham now want to sign 13 goal striker who dreams of moving to the Premier League
German transfer expert Christian Falk confirmed West Ham’s interest in Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi last night in this tweet:
David Moyes admitted West Ham have been on the hunt for a backup for the injury-prone Michail Antonio ‘for over two years’. They seem now, to have finally settled on the Nigerian striker Awoniyi.
Awoniyi only left Premier League giants Liverpool in the summer and has quickly settled into new surroundings in Berlin, notching 13 goals in 27 games in the Bundesliga this season.
Liverpool still hold a 10% sell-on clause in the Nigerian, according to the Daily Mail.
With the Hammers looking likely to at least achieve Conference League football this season, West Ham will be an attractive project to the young Nigerian who recently told German outlet Kicker that:
“The Premier League is my dream. Everyone knows that, including here in the club. If I lived in England, it would be easier for my wife and child, just by myself because of the language. Also, my sister and a brother live on the island.”
Awoniyi is the sort of how hard-working, robust player that David Moyes loves to build his teams around. Unfortunately for the East enders, they are not the only team interested.
Would Awoniyi suit West Ham?
Yes. He is a different player to Michail Antonio however.
While Antonio has been molded successfully into a striker, he still has many habits that’d you’d typically associate with a winger.
He drifts out onto the wing, he looks to run the line, and sometimes, he forgets to make the important runs into the box that you would expect from an out-and-out number 9.
Awoniyi is the opposite. He likes to play in the box and has become something of a poacher for Union Berlin this season.
That’s not to say he can’t press and put in the effort. Having trained and been coached by Jurgen Klopp that philosophy will be ingrained in him until he hangs up his boots.
Awoniyi’s non-penalty xg is amongst the highest in the Bundesliga this season, sitting on a healthy 0.53(FBref). That’s a record of 1 goal every 2 games in a team that is known for its defensive style of play.
If you compare that to Antonio’s 0.33 the difference is obvious.
It’s indicative of the sort of player Awoniyi is and his ability to fashion chances himself.
He has more of the striker’s instinct than Antonio.
Is this a realistic transfer?
Yes. According to Bild, Awoniyi would be available for around £21 million for any interested parties. Christian Falk, however, claims the number is even lower. This owing to a proposed release clause in Awoniyi’s contract to the value of €20 million (around £16.6 million).
Whatever the correct figure, the low price tag has attracted more than just West Ham. Falk himself also reported interest from both Newcastle and Southampton.
While West Ham will feel they have the pulling power than Southampton. The interest of Newcastle is sure to cause some concern.
With their safety all but secured this season, the Magpies will be keen to flex their new financial muscle in the summer. You have to wonder if West Ham will be able to compete in terms of the wages on offer.
The realm they will be able to compete in however is the offer of continental football. West Ham are very likely to be in some form of European competition next season with a Europa League semi-final coming up and a reasonable 3-point gap between them and wolves in the league.
The Hammers can point to the fact that Awoniyi will not be walking into a big rebuild at West Ham (as he would be at Newcastle).
He would instead be one of the final puzzle pieces in a team that has only gotten stronger in recent years.
If West Ham truly want him, they should be able to get him
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