Osimhen’s record-breaking transfer to Lille to Napoli was the dominant story in the Nigerian football sphere last summer, but it was not the only transfer news involving a Super Eagles star
Emmanuel Dennis was a player that was in hot demand last summer following a successful season with Club Brugge.
The 22-year-old joined Club in 2017, but it was not until last season he got public attention, and it was in one of the biggest stages of all.
Club were drawn against 13-time European champions, Real Madrid, in last season’s UEFA Champions League group stages.
The two sides met in the second match of the group at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in a clash where Real Madrid were the overwhelming favourites.
However, the Belgian giants flipped the script with Dennis scoring twice in the 9th and 39th minute to hand the away side a shock first half lead.
Although Real Madrid stormed back in the second half to salvage a point, it was Dennis night in one of the iconic stadiums in the World. The Nigerian international added salt to Madrid’s injury by copying Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous ‘Si’ celebration.
Dennis deservedly grabbed all the attention that famous night and just like that- he burst into public consciousness.
Despite the impressive result, Club failed to qualify for the second round, but they did drop into the Europa League. The Europa League draw pitted them against another European heavyweight in Manchester United.
And once again, Dennis showed his qualities on the big stage scoring in the 1-1 draw in Belgium-although United won the return leg 5-0 to seal qualification.
But despite the loss, Dennis profile was on the rise, and he finished last season with nine goals and two assists in 31 games.
Following the completion of last season, several clubs showed interest in the 22-year old. Leeds United, Sheffield United, RB Leipzig and Napoli were among the clubs interested.
But it was Borrusia Dortmund that showed genuine interest in the former Zorya Lugansk forward. The Black and Yellow were hoping to sign Dennis as a potential replacement for Jadon Sancho, who was reportedly on his way to Manchester United.
However, a deal could not be agreed as Dortmund could not match Club’s valuation while Sancho ended up staying at the Signal Iduna Park.
Nonetheless, it was expected that Dennis would kick on from where he left off last season. He had a slow start but still managed two assists in his first seven games while he also scored in Club Brugge’s opening day win over Zenith St. Petersburg in the Champions League.
But that was his best spell this season as things have gone downwards for him. And it was as a result of his indiscretion.
Ahead of Club’s Champions League match against Dortmund in Germany, Dennis stormed off the bus following a dispute over a seat.
He was reportedly not happy he was not allowed to sit in his preferred seat and left the bus angrily. Although he later apologised for his actions, Club took disciplinary action against him.
While the disciplinary action put an end to the drama, Dennis fell out of favour under the Blauw-Zwart manager, Phillipe Clement.
Since storming off the bus, Dennis has only completed 90 minutes once while he has missed the team’s last six league games.
Although he missed some of these games due to injury, it appears he’s no longer in the manager’s plans going forward.
Storming off the bus was not his only indiscretion. The 23-year-old also reportedly displayed a middle finger to the Belgian police after he was stopped along with his friend, who was charged for overspeeding.
According to a report, Dennis held the middle finger when he was stopped- although his defence lawyer stated it was to a friend he was face timing at that moment.
These two events have put Dennis in the headlines for the wrong reasons and affected his season. But it is also important to note that the youngster recently lost his brother and it has played a part in his form this season.
However, he must pick himself back up, although that may not be with the Belgian champions. The marriage between the two parties no longer works as he has even fallen in the pecking order.
Chinese Super League club, Shanghai SIPG, are reportedly interested in his services and are even ready to double his wages.
Hertha Berlin are also monitoring his situation and could make a bid before the transfer window shuts at the end of January.
It is unlikely that he moves to the Far East at this age of his career, which leaves the Bundesliga club as his most likely destination.
He could still stay at Club Brugge, but it is not an option that both parties want. Club are ready to sell as long as they receive a good offer- although it is unlikely that they get the 20m euros they demanded last summer.
It has been a difficult season for Dennis, but a move away from Belgium offers him a chance to start afresh.