Last year’s continental top goalscorer could become the fourth Nigerian to sign for an Italian top-flight club this summer
Super Eagles striker Cyriel Dessers has confirmed that Saturday’s league appearance against Eupen could be his last in the colours of KRC Genk.
Dessers further hints that his dream move to Cremonese could be announced as early as Sunday, as the Italian side and Genk put the finishing touches to his transfer.
How does Dessers feel about leaving Genk?
Despite being on the verge of quitting Genk, Dessers was still named in the Limburgers’ starting lineup against Eupen on Saturday.
After the encounter, the Nigeria international celebrated with the fans, and he revealed it was his way of saying goodbye to the supporters.
“Have I just said goodbye to the fans? Yes, maybe a little,” Dessers told the media.
“I think it’s no secret that a transfer is close. Sunday is a crucial day. Cremonese and Genk are negotiating. It’s getting very close now.”
Dessers has already scored three goals in the Belgian Pro League this term. But the 27-year-old did not score as Genk defeated Eupen 4-2 on home soil.
He confessed the risk of getting injured and scuttling his transfer may have held him back a little from giving his best in the encounter.
“I would have liked to have scored a goal, but I am delighted that we were able to win and that I was able to celebrate with the audience,” the former Feyenoord loanee added.
“I may have taken a risk by playing. Look at what happened to Tissoudali last week. It’s kind of stuck in the back of your mind somehow. Maybe you noticed that from my match.
“I also had a bit of trouble beforehand, and then you ask yourself in advance whether you are going to play or not, especially with a transfer that is imminent. So I’m relieved that I’ve stayed fit.”
Dessers chasing the dream
Dessers excelled in the Dutch Eredivisie last season when on loan at Feyenoord.
The striker also impressed on the continent, finishing as the Europa Conference League top goal scorer.
He is confident he would have succeeded in the Jupiler League, but he maintains that playing in one of Europe’s top-tier leagues was always an attraction.
“A top competition has always been my dream,” Dessers continued. “I have never hidden that.
“If I stayed in Genk, I might be able to compete for the top scorer title, but I’m ready for something new. I played football in Belgium and the Netherlands and saw all the stadiums and teams there. I came in second and third.
“The only thing missing here is a title, but I didn’t feel like there was much of a stretch.”
Why is Dessers joining a lowly club in Italy?
Cremonese are reportedly offering Dessers a five-year deal and Genk a €6.5 million transfer fee.
But the Serie A new boys will likely be battling survival in Italy. Dessers have been criticised for leaving title challengers Genk for relegation battlers Cremonese.
Responding, the former Heracles Almelo forward insists he would go wherever he is considered first-team player.
“Soon I’ll be 28 too,” says Dessers.
“That many people have their doubts about Cremonese? I won’t be competing for the title, no. I think I’m showing that I’m versatile enough.
“For me, it was important to be the first striker somewhere. I didn’t want to go to all those beautiful stadiums as a tourist. I want to play effectively and prove myself.”
Genk manager Wouter Vrancken also conceded that the Limburgers are expecting the Nigerian striker to leave any time soon.
“Is Cyriel going to leave? Yes,” Vrancken said. “Then you know more than I do. I expect Cyriel in my office soon to say goodbye.”
When the deal is confirmed, Dessers will be the second Nigeria to join Cremonese this summer. The Grey and Reds have already sealed a deal for Nigerian attacker David Okereke from Belgian champions Club Brugge.