Emmanuel Dennis has achieved his desire to stay in the Premier League after completing a £20m move from Watford to Nottingham Forest.
The best known characteristic of quality footballers is consistency. And a lack of it has been the biggest underside of some of the most talked-about players in the game.
When Dennis moved to the Premier League from Club Brugge, he had endured a difficult six months in the Bundesliga with FC Cologne.
Some years before that period, he scored a brace against Real Madrid in the Champions League and his name made headlines across Europe. It would prove to help his valuation.
That prominence ensured he asked for a move away from Club Brugge and the loan to Germany was a means to that end. He had become a rebel in the club, and once failed to get on the team bus. Keeping such a player would prove difficult.
Dennis has shown a considerable level of growth since then. At 24, and with footballers’ peak years arriving earlier, it’s expected that he finds comfort quickly.
His impressive Premier League debut at Watford last season got eyes shot open. It was difficult to sleep on that level of impact. In the first half of the season, he had proven good enough for the money and already proved to be a bargain.
While a dramatic turnaround in performance affected his ratings in the second half of the season, as Watford switched from the freedom of Claudio Ranieri to the principled outlay of Roy Hodgson, he still proved the Hornets’ most important asset.
Dennis scored 10 goals and assisted 6 in 33 games for Watford, meaning he contributed a goal or an assist in almost every two games.
He also had a hand in 47% of Watford’s total goals last season, which underlines his individual contributions to the team and could have been better used if they had better organisation.
Dennis was linked to Everton and West Ham earlier on but none of the reports came true. Both teams could have avoided his signing because they have players similar to him in their ranks and his effects are expected to fall drastically should he join any of them.
In contrast, a team looking to find its feet like Forest can use one Dennis, be hopeful about something close, if not same impact as last season, and a good Premier League quality but there’s a risk attached to that.
It’s the second season, times can be hard
Replication is a strong expectation in the Premier League or in football in general, and the whole division will be looking to Dennis to see if he can repeat his last season’s performance.
This brings a level of pressure to the player, individually and on a team basis. His impacts didn’t work wonders last season at Watford and this time around, he’s also looked at to see how well he can carry the team, as its record signing.
Dennis is proven quality and on his day, he’s as devastating as they get but the second season in the Premier League can be nullifying. Defenders know your salt and charge with extra intensity, and teams prepare for your danger in different manners.
If the quality can outwit challenges, the man stays strongly in contention but should bring found out would be difficult for the Super Eagle.
Dennis could be a Yakubu Aiyegbeni or an Osaze Odemwingie or be a rehash of both. He has a lot to prove and an opportunity to do it. Next season, who knows he could be on the move, and this time, vertically.