Taiwo Awoniyi has admitted it “doesn’t look realistic” that he could stay at Liverpool if he is unable to secure a UK work permit, and that he would prefer to play regularly.
As it stands, all signs point to a permanent exit suiting Awoniyi best this summer, after spending the past five seasons away from the club on loan.
He has been unable to feature for the Reds since his £400,000 move from the Imperial Soccer Academy in 2015 as he is not eligible for a UK work permit, which requires a number of criteria to be met for players signed.
Time on loan at FSV Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen, Royal Excel Mouscron, KAA Gent, back at Mouscron and then most recently Mainz has been productive for the Nigerian, but he is not expected to be granted permission to live and work in the UK ahead of 2020/21.
And in an interview with BBC Sport, Awoniyi, who will turn 23 in August, explained that “fighting for a spot” at Liverpool “doesn’t look realistic” if he does not qualify for a work permit.
“Whatsoever you do, my philosophy is to always be satisfied that you’ve put in your best, rather than regretting,” he said.
“Many situations I have found myself in might be difficult to explain to those outside, because football is not just what people see on the pitch from where they sit.
“Fighting for a spot at a big club like Liverpool without what will help you keep the spot doesn’t look realistic to me.
“If that happens then we can talk about a spot, but if it fails to materialise then you have to be man enough and admit that you’ve given it your everything.”
Awoniyi was close to taking part in Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the United States last summer, only for an injury to rule him out of contention.
He explained that while it would have benefited him to be involved, the issue of lacking a work permit would have still hampered his chance.
“I’m a realist as well. Even if I impressed the manager and did great during the tour, I would still face the hurdle of not having a work permit to allow me play in England,” he continued.
“The manager will only focus on those eligible to play.
“But being with the squad on pre-season is always great because you learn and develop more as a player.”
Whether it is a stick-or-twist summer for Awoniyi remains to be seen, but his comments on the prospect of winning medals at a top club while having barely played suggest he is open to leaving.
“It would definitely be great to be a part of the success,” he said.
“But honestly, I would rather be where I am playing more and in a team that I can earn the medal of my own that I honestly worked for.
“It sounds a bit odd but that is the truth. To be compensated for not making any contribution is not fair.”