Schalke have opened preliminary talks to sign Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi this summer, Football Insider understands.
The Bundesliga outfit are hoping to win the Continental race to land the 21-year-old ahead of rival French, Belgian and German clubs amid his continued failure to secure a work permit to play in England.
A Liverpool source has told Football Insider early discussions have taken place with Schalke about a permanent deal worth in excess of £10million.
The Merseysiders are willing to listen to offers for Awoniyi this summer if there is no work permit breakthrough, which could hinge on the outcome of Brexit negotiations as well as the player establishing himself in the senior Nigeria team.
Liverpool have long held high hopes for Awoniyi, who has earned rave reviews overseas for what is currently his fifth loan spell outside of England with Belgian side Mouscron, where he has scored 12 goals in 37 matches this season, with all bar one of them coming in the second half of the campaign.
The 21-year-old has yet to play for his parent club in a senior game since signing on a long-term deal in August 2015 from Nigeria’s Imperial Academy.
Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards, charged with transfer negotiations, is hopeful of making a £10million-plus profit on Awoniyi, who cost around £400,000.
The player himself has spoken of his frustration at his work permit problems and the hurdles he is having to overcome to even make it to Liverpool.
Awoniyi has been capped by Nigeria at Under-23s level but has yet to represent the senior side.
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