Emmanuel Dennis was crowned champions of Belgium after Club Brugge were last week named as league champions after the Belgian league decided to end the league season without staging the traditional championship playoffs. This may perhaps be the last time Brugge’s fans would be seeing their striker in the club’s blue and black colours except the eggheads of the Jan Breydel Stadium and resist pressure from Premier League clubs
Sheffield United continue to be linked with Club Brugge and Nigerian striker Emmanuel Dennis just as another Premier League is also in the hunt.
Having already signed one of Belgium Jupiler Pro League’s star players in Sander Berge, Sheffield United have been heavily tipped to return for another one of its leading lights and Dennis has been in exceptional form this season and scored twice at the Santiago Bernabeu as Brugge drew 2-2 with Real Madrid in the Champions League earlier this season.
However, it appears that a former Blades boss is willing to rival Chris Wilder for the striker’s signature after reports in Belgium from media outlet Voetbalkrant claim that Dennis is attracting concrete interest from Newcastle United.
The report claims the Magpies would go ‘to great lengths’ to get the forward.
Just last month a Dutch news publication, Het Laatste Nieuws, claimed that the Blades were willing to go back in for the striker at the end of this current campaign after having a similar approach rebuffed last summer.
The 22-year-old would fit the bill perfectly for Wilder in terms of price, age and potential but there is a danger Sheffield could not only face stiff competition from fellow English sides but also European heavyweights.
German giants Borussia Dortmund are one of the sides that are believed to be considering a move for Dennis.
The 22-year-old is said to have caught the attention of Newcastle boss Steve Bruce who is looking for an alternative forward after club-record signing Joelington failed to justify the investment of the club in him.
Reports in the Belgian media revealed that Magpies are confident of persuading to move to England, but Club Brugge asking price could make the transfer drag on for sometimes.
Dennis joined the Club Brugge in 2017 and has scored 19 goals in 79 appearances for the club and won his first league title with the club this season.
Dennis has won two caps for the Super Eagles of Nigeria and he was included in Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr’s 24-man squad for the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone before the game was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Dennis hit the season running when Club Brugge visited Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages at the iconic Santiago Bernabeu. Many had expected the Belgian side to return to their base with basket full of goals. However, Nigerian striker had other ideas as he not only stun the Bernabeu faithful with a first-half brace, he also reminded them of their legend-Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 21-year-old Dennis trolled the 13-time European champions for the full 71 minutes he was on the pitch.
Not only did he score a fortuitous double in earning his side a 2-2 draw, he marked the achievements with a move made famous at the Bernabeu – Cristiano Ronaldo’s iconic ‘Siii’ celebration.
No Nigerian had ever scored multiple goals against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu until Dennis arrived the Spanish capital with Club Brugge and on an amazing night, the Super Eagles forward grabbed a brace to help the Belgians claim a crucial point at the home of the most successful club in the Champions League.
“Yes, I did a Cristiano Ronaldo goal celebration when I scored. I’ve been a Cristiano fan forever and I was very upset when he left Madrid. So I decided that if I scored in the Bernabeu tonight that’s what I’d do,” Dennis said after the game.
“Everyone expected them to beat us easily. We prepared for them, we believed and we had a good feeling.
“We took the lead with two goals, and obviously it would have been better to have beaten them too. I am a little bit disappointed in a way, but also happy that we won a point against a big team.”
The Adamawa-born forward was a constant threat for the hosts, with both stars linking up to open the scoring in Madrid.
Dennis disclosed Club Brugge’s game plan and how they were able to break Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane’s defence.
“We train a lot, we train hard and we came here to make Ramos and Varane run,” he added.
“They are defenders – defenders don’t like to run! Most teams come here and play in a block, but we broke from the block and worked like mad.”
Dennis made history by becoming just the third Nigerian to score against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Dennis, with his brace, also became only the seventh player to score multiple goals in a Champions League away match against Real Madrid, after Alessandro Del Piero, Alexandre Pato, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Lionel Messi, Mario Mandzukic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The 22-year-old however expressed his disappointment that Brugge could not earn a win despite his goals.
“The feeling would have been even better if we could have taken the three points home with us,” Dennis said after the match.
“Everyone expected Real to easily set us aside, but we prepared well and believed in our game. We believed we could pick something up here.
“When we were in front 0-2 it gave us a good feeling, but it was still in the back of our minds that such a top team could also straighten this out. I am slightly disappointed with this one point. But it is a good point because it was made in the Bernabéu. Real Madrid remains a big team.
The Nigerian international also took time to relive his goals against former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
“With the first goal, I wanted to control the ball so that the goalkeeper would lie down. But I missed my control so that my body was no longer in balance and I could work it in with my other foot.
“At the second goal, I checked the ball and wanted to make a decision right away, but I saw Courtois come out wild, so I decided to “chip” the ball. Which ultimately paid off.
“It is a shame that the goalkeeper turned out with a good save at the third chance. I didn’t want to shoot to that side but the goalkeeper drove me there. Whether I will have a tattoo placed since I scored here? I like to make jokes for the camera (laughs).”