Explaining Watford’s Rationale Behind Signing Emmanuel Dennis

Emmanuel Dennis
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New transfer rumours have popped up for Watford daily since they secured Premier League promotion at the end of April. Especially in the attacking department, the Hornets have had no shortage of interest lined up. They recently secured the signing of Ashley Fletcher for depth purposes. Now, Watford have confirmed the surprising signature of Emmanuel Dennis for immediate starting competition.

Why Watford Signed Emmanuel Dennis

Unexpected Signing

In the modern age of football and reporting, most transfers come after many links arise on websites and social media. However, Watford moved swiftly and in silence to secure the services of Dennis from Club Brugge. Reports of any negotiations between Watford and Dennis were nonexistent prior to the confirmation of the deal.

As of now, the transfer fee is undisclosed. Nonetheless, the Hornets are bound to have secured his services at a cut-rate price considering his falling-out at Club Brugge and the fact his contract in Belgium expired in 2022.

Watford Have an Exciting Attacker for the Present and Future

The Nigerian international’s 2020/21 campaign was one to forget, as a falling-out with his manager at Club Brugge and poor attitude towards his loan with FC Koln reduced him to 23 appearances, scoring two goals and assisting four in the process across all competitions.

Part of his reportedly bad attitude while under contract this past season with Club Brugge was also down to his desire to depart in the 2020 summer transfer window, but the Belgian champions did not let him leave. Reports suggested that in 2020, Arsenal saw a £15 million bid rejected, as well as a £12 million bid turned away the summer prior.

Considering clubs such as Arsenal were willing to offer eight figures for his signature, the player’s qualities are well-documented. In the 2019/20 season, Dennis scored nine times and assisted twice in 33 matches across all competitions, including a memorable brace at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the Champions League. In 2018/19, Dennis had ten goal contributions in 32 matches. The season before that – his first with Club Brugge – Dennis scored 12 goals and provided five assists across 38 matches.

The talented dribbler and pacey attacker can play in both central and wide roles. His attacking numbers are impressive; his age and progress indicate he still has plenty of time to further improve.

Emmanuel Dennis Provides Starting Competition in Many Positions

The 23-year-old’s versatility means he provides firm starting competition for both wing positions and, more notably, the central-forward role. The right-wing is to be occupied by Ismaila Sarr unless an improbable, irrefutable offer arrives. The starting role for the left-wing position, however, remains firmly up for grabs. Dennis will provide a speedy inverted-winger option.

Dennis also provides much-desired starting competition in the center of the attack, though Adam Leventhal of The Athletic claims the Hornets are working on a deal for yet another striker. So, his main position at Vicarage Road remains to be seen. Adept to both wide and central attacking play, the Hornets have themselves a player who has played naturally, and considerably well, in whichever attacking position they want him to play in.

A New Type of Attacker for Xisco Munoz

The Hornets do not have another striker like Dennis in their squad. No other Watford centre-forward is characterized by their rapid pace. Frequently when on the counter-attack, star-winger Sarr’s speed means the supporting Watford cavalry does not arrive until the defense has already retreated. Dennis provides a player who can match Sarr’s blistering sprints on the counter-attack.

Dennis is also known for his well-timed runs behind the defense. Fellow new-signings Imran Louza and Danny Rose have previously provided service for such movement well at their former clubs.

Besides, for the cut-rate price Watford likely coughed up for his signature, the very low risk, super high reward nature of this transfer makes this move yet another extremely shrewd piece of business by Gino Pozzo and Co.


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