COMMENT

Taiwo Awoniyi is not guaranteed a spot in Nottingham Forest's starting XI

The 24-year-old signed a 5-year-contract with the two-time Champions League winners on Saturday.

Taiwo Awoniyi: Nottingham Forest announced the signing of the Super Eagles striker on Saturday

Having completed what can be regarded as an impressive season with Union Berlin, Super Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi has been rewarded with a move to the Premier League.

Nottingham Forest - his new employers - are looking to fortify their squad following their return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.

But while the striker's move to the most-watched football league in the world might seem a step up for his career, there is also a suspicion that Awoniyi's move might be bad for his career.

At Union Berlin, the 24-year-old scored 20 goals in all competitions, making him the highest-scoring Nigerian player in Europe's top five leagues in the concluded season.

Of those 20 goals, Awoniyi scored 15 in the German Bundesliga, finishing sixth on the scorers' chart.

But while all of these might seem exciting, and offer some explanation as to why Nottingham Forest think adding him to their ranks will help their status in the Premier League, will he find settling in easy?

Awaiting the Nigeria international at City Ground, are the trio of Brennan Johnson, Lewis Grabban and Sam Surridge: also forwards for the newly-promoted club.

Nottingham's top scorer last season (19), might on first thinking, not necessarily be a positional challenge for Awoniyi as he primarily plays as an attacking midfielder, and occasionally, on the wings.

But considering Steve Cooper's preferred two-striker system that saw the 21-year-old play up front for most of last season, Awoniyi will have to consistently be in top form for him not to be relegated below the top two strikers in the team.

Ordinarily, Awoniyi should be a starter ahead of Grabban, especially when the ages of both strikers are considered. However, the 34-year-old is no pushover either.

Compared to Awoniyi's 18 goals in 41 games, Grabban scored 13 in 31 games for Forest, with almost similar rates of 0.44 and 0.42 goals per game respectively.

Another bump in the road for Awoniyi is the fact that Grabban is the captain of Forest. Imagine having the keep the experienced captain - with a decent scoring rate - on the bench regularly, for the newly signed forward. A little unlikely.

Surridge might be the easiest of the above two for Awoniyi to displace, but that is if the winter signing from Stoke City fails to keep up his good form.

Surridge - like Awoniyi - has age on his side (unlike Grabban) and scored eight goals after joining the promoted side in January.

Surridge, currently 23, become age mates with Awoniyi in July.

Forest boss Cooper could come under serious fire should he fail to integrate Awoniyi into his starting XI as early as possible.

But should Awoniyi suffer a dip in form at any time in the season as he did at Union Berlin, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find him at the bottom of the pecking order despite being a club record-signing. Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea is a relevant cautionary tale.

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