Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi could finally be given a chance with the first team in pre-season, six years after joining, though the club are already fielding interest.
Having been on the Reds’ books since 2015, Awoniyi has now been granted a UK work permit, which will allow him to live and train regularly on Merseyside for the first time.
But how long that will last remains to be seen, with the Nigerian striker attracting widespread interest following an impressive campaign with Union Berlin in the Bundesliga.
The Reds are expected to be without the likes of Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Xherdan Shaqiri and perhaps Mohamed Salah in the early weeks of their warmup schedule, which could give Awoniyi a chance to impress.
But Jones claims that “initial discussions” have already been held with Fulham, West Brom and Stoke in the Championship.
They are joined in their pursuit by Union Berlin, Wolfsburg and Stuttgart from the Bundesliga and Anderlecht from the Belgian Pro League.
Liverpool are said to value Awoniyi at around £8 million, which would represent a £7.6 million profit on the £400,000 paid to sign him from the Imperial Soccer Academy six years ago.
Previously, Ligue 1’s Montpellier, Stade Brestois 29 and Nimes, CD Leganes and Real Mallorca in the Spanish Segunda Division, Turkish Super League leaders Besiktas and Greek champions Olympiakos have expressed a desire to sign the 23-year-old.
It stands to reason that Awoniyi would appeal to clubs in Germany and Belgium, given that is where he has enjoyed his success on loan, but the prospect of staying in England may appeal.
That is unlikely to be with Liverpool, though there is a chance he may catch Klopp’s eye during pre-season, in a summer that could bring change in the attacking ranks with Shaqiri and Divock Origi set to be made available.
Awoniyi may provide an in-house replacement for Origi if the Belgian attracts offers at the right price, after scoring five times and assisting a further four in 21 appearances for Union Berlin this season.
However, with the Reds in desperate need of funds to bolster the first team, it is expected that they will sell Awoniyi in order to finance other deals.