Emmanuel Dennis: The imperfect actor in a perfect denouement

The Hornets’ nest has been stirred many times this season with Manchester City, the latest to kill the buzz

Before Emmanuel Dennis’ move to Watford at the beginning of the season, he had faced the toughest six months of his European football sojourn.

After a fractious contractual situation at Club Brugge, where he was highly rated and revered, the attacker joined Bundesliga side, FC Cologne on loan. His time at the German club didn’t smell of ease.

In six months in Germany, he featured in nine league games, mostly as a substitute.

The end of the season brought the perfect challenge, as Watford signed him from the Belgian giants for an undisclosed fee. It’d prove to be an excellent coup for the club, albeit with little to show for in results.

Dennis kicked straight to life in the Premier League. He hit the ground running and didn’t have to go through the common transitory phase players coming from foreign clubs face. He was up for the challenge from the first blast of the whistle.

Watford have looked brilliant sometimes this season but the lack of consistency to sustain their healthy form makes survival almost impossible.

Amid all their troubles and the chaos of successive painful losses, one man stood out.

Dennis, in Nigeria, isn’t a fans favourite as such. Despite his impressive Premier League feats, his lack of invitation under Gernot Rohr meant many didn’t get to see him for many years.

When he was invited for the AFCON, the club claimed the call was late and held him back. That made Watford unpopular among Nigerians. It cut every form of respect.

Dennis, who had become a prized asset also accepted the decision in good faith, courting criticisms from local fans who felt he wasn’t willing to represent his fatherland.

The attacker’s form at Watford derailed afterwards and their season struggled to find a footing. Such is his importance that he has scored 10 goals and assisted 6 this season.

Of the Hornets’ 32 goals this season, Dennis contributed 50% of them. His mark has been indelible and he’s proven his quality in the Premier League at the first of asking.

Except for the emergence of a great miracle, Watford will play at the Championship next season and will lose many players. Dennis has proven he can cope with the rigours of the Premier League and must be eyeing a move away.

With Leeds reportedly interested in his services, he won’t be short of suitors in the league following his eye-catching displays this season.

Although Dennis holds a headache sometimes, especially with the inconsistencies in his motivation and his questionable sense of urgency, his debut season in the Premier League has been a perfect denouement.

Having signed a 5-year deal at the beginning of the season, Watford can be sure of conducting good business and making a good return.

It’s been a great individual year for Dennis and demotion to the EFL will not reward his hard work. He deserves a shot amongst the best.



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