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Who is Kyrian Nwoko? All you need to know about the Malta striker set to sign for Linfield


Kyrian Nwoko battles Sergio Ramos during Malta's game against Spain back in 2019. (Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

Kyrian Nwoko battles Sergio Ramos during Malta's game against Spain back in 2019. (Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Kyrian Nwoko battles Sergio Ramos during Malta's game against Spain back in 2019. (Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

Linfield are set to bring in one of the more intriguing signings of the summer transfer window.

Malta striker Kyrian Nwoko is expected to complete a two-year deal at Windsor Park providing he is granted a work permit, but just who is he?

Here’s a quick guide…

Age: 24

Position: Striker

Height: 6’2 (188cm)

Previous clubs: St Andrew’s, Valletta FC

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International experience: Nwoko has played 21 times for Malta’s senior side since making his debut in 2017. He has scored three goals (against Latvia, Gibraltar and the Faroe Islands) in that time but didn’t play in the friendly against Northern Ireland back in May. He has faced the likes of Spain, Sweden and Croatia and has also scored four goals in 11 games for Malta’s Under 21 side.

Early promise: Born to a Nigerian dad and Maltese mother in Malta’s capital city Valletta, Nwoko started playing football at the age of five and after some promising signs in his junior career, his name was put on the map when he made two appearances for Malta – against the Netherlands and England - at the 2014 UEFA Under 17 Championship.

Links to a big England move: That summer, the first links to English clubs surfaced as both Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace were reported to be considering a move for the then 17-year-old.

Promotion to the big league: Nwoko helped St Andrew’s to promotion to the Maltese Premier League in 2015, although didn’t feature in the club’s top two league scorers for the season as they finished second in the First Division. He went on to score nine goals across the following two seasons in the top tier.

Switch to his hometown club: That proved enough to earn Nwoko a transfer to Valletta FC, who he would help fire to back-to-back league titles in 2018 and 2019. He remains at the club now and has scored 12 goals in 75 Premier League games since his arrival.

Scunthorpe transfer scuppered: By now, he could easily have been playing in England, as a move to then League One side Scunthorpe looked on the cards midway through the 18/19 season. Have been tracked by the club, he went on a trial in January 2019 and even netted in a behind-closed-doors friendly for the Iron. However, boss Stuart McCall was then reported as confirming that a deal couldn’t be agreed between Scunthorpe and Valletta and so the transfer never materialised.

Playing style: Blues fans will probably already have noted that Nwoko’s goal-scoring statistics (three goals in 21 games for Malta / 21 goals in 133 Maltese Premier League games) aren’t exactly earth shattering. However, what he does offer is an unmistakable physical presence in the final third. Nwoko is a real target man, adept at receiving the ball with his back to goal and either winning a header or holding up play before feeding in team-mates. While, unless he improves on his current scoring rate, he is unlikely to fill the goal-scoring hole left by the departures of Andy Waterworth and Shayne Lavery, his signing will no doubt be music to the ears of the side’s flying attackers such as Jordan Stewart and Kirk Millar, who will profit from Nwoko’s link-up play.

Can we see him in action: There’s a very well put-together video of some of Nwoko’s highlights – created by Golden Videos back in 2018 - right here:

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