Belgian side Genk had four forwards of Nigerian descent at some point in the summer and eventually shipped two out on loan in what one has now described as the craziest day of his life
Feyenoord striker Cyriel Dessers has revealed the intrigues that played out behind the scenes on the final day of the summer transfer window before he completed his temporary switch from KRC Genk.
The Nigerian international, Eredivisie top scorer in the 2019/20 season, had spent much of the previous campaign on the substitute bench, no thanks to compatriot Paul Onuachu’s prolific goalscoring form.
With Onuachu expected to seal a big-money move to any of Europe’s bigger sides, Dessers was convinced he would be the leading man for the Smurfs during the 2021-22 season.
But Onuachu failed to secure a switch abroad, and Genk complicated matters by bringing in Ike Ugbo from Chelsea.
Another forward, Stephen Odey, also returned from a loan spell at French lower league side Amiens, doubling the numbers of Nigerian forwards at the Belgian club.
Dessers decided to leave Genk on loan, with Spanish Segunda Division side Leganes leading the race for his signature.
But on transfer deadline day, after considering several other offers on his way to Spain, the former Heracles man opted for a return to the Netherlands, where he had made his name.
“That day was the craziest day of my life. If only there had been cameras. That documentary could have won an Oscar,” the 26-year-old Nigeria striker told De Telegraaf.
“I left for Madrid at six in the morning with the idea of signing with Leganes. But at the (airport) gate, we suddenly received a phone call from several clubs.
“Antwerp, Nottingham Forest, Feyenoord. In the end, Stijn (Francis, his agent) and I got on the plane. During the flight, you have no idea for two and a half hours which team you are going to play for the next day.
“At that moment, my fate was in the hands of the clubs. After landing, we sat down on a bench in front of the airport. Finally, Genk reached an agreement with Feyenoord, and I signed my contract in the lobby of a hotel in Madrid.”
Dessers’ move to Feyenoord could not have gone any better so far, with the Belgian-Nigerian scoring four goals in eight league games for the Dutch club.