Dessers finally free from playing under Onuachu’s shadows with Feyenoord move

The Nigerian forward will play the 2021-22 season with De Stadionclub.

Cyriel Dessers (Goal)

For a player who had scored 73 goals within a seven-year period, its safe to call Cyriel Dessers a prolific forward.

Starting out his career in 2013 in his native Belgium with OH Leuven and then Lokeren, it was Dessers’ next career stints in the Netherlands that set him apart as a lethal forward.

Moving to NAC Breda in 2016 and helping them to Eredivisie promotion the year after, the Tongeren-born player netted 41 goals in all competitions in two seasons. Dessers’ next move was a two-season stint at FC Utrecht in which scored 19 goals, and then a single season at Heracles Almelo in 2019-20 where he scored 15 goals to finish as Eredivisie joint-top scorer alongside Steven Berghuis.

The opportunity to return home presented itself to Dessers and he joined Genk in the summer of 2020. The transfer was noteworthy because he got to team up with towering Nigeria forward Paul Onuachu.

Onuachu was equally a prolific forward with 10 goals to his name in Genk colours prior to Dessers’ arrival. Dessers has switched international allegiance to Nigeria and was called up for the first time in March 2020 before earning his only cap till date in a 1-1 friendly draw with Tunisia on October 13 of the same year.

The combination of Dessers and Onuachu was therefore to be something special, sadly it turned out not to be.

Though Dessers played 34 times for Genk last term, bulk of it was off the bench, 27 times to be precise and only seven as starts. It was Onuachu who was leading the attack as the sole forward, the result of that seeing him score a mammoth 35 competitive goals which earned him the Belgian Jupiler League top scorer award and the Belgian Professional Footballer of the Year award.

Dessers meanwhile scored only seven goals and provided three assists. Most of the time the 26-year-old came on, it was a like-for-like substitution with Onuachu, of which by that time the ex-Midtjylland player would have registered his name on the scoresheet.

This was clearly not the kind of scenario Dessers had planed out returning to Belgium but he’s now got a new lease of life after securing a move back to the Netherlands, this time on loan at the country’s third most successful club, Feyenoord Rotterdam.

This is a huge one for Dessers as it is his biggest club till date. Feyenoord technical director Frank Arnesen believes Dessers’ track record for goals in the Eredivisie will come through for the club.

“Cyriel has proven that he has the scoring ability and we are convinced that he will show that at Feyenoord as well,” Arnesen said.

“Moreover, his arrival means that we have more options to choose from in the front, and that is not an unnecessary luxury given our busy schedule.”

The Netherlands, as stated earlier is were Dessers’ most productive goalscoring stint has occurred, so he’s back in familiar territory. Indeed, he looks set to thrive as the main striker with Bryan Linssen and Naoufal Bannis, the other options.

Dessers could really give Feyenoord a push as they hope to mount a stronger title challenge this season having last won the Eredivisie in 2017, their 15th crown. Since then, they’ve been distant finishers from the top, the closest coming in the prematurely-ended 2019-20 season where they finished third, six points behind Ajax Amsterdam.

Feyenoord have started the current season well with two wins from their opening three matches. They also had a strong run in the Europa Conference League qualifiers, seeing off FC Drita, FC Luzern and Elfsborg to make it into the group phase where they tackle Maccabi Haifa, Slavia Prague and Union Berlin. Dessers could potentially come up against his countrymen in Peter Olayinka and Taiwo Awoniyi who play for the latter two.

Feyenoord will not be in Eredivisie action this weekend after their clash with Dessers’ former side Heracles was cancelled. Dessers could therefore be in line to make his debut in the Europa Conference League trip to Israeli side Haifa next Tuesday.

Feyenoord has the option to buy Dessers at the end of his loan. This is sort of a win for him because it means it is unlikely he returns to Belgium to play under Onuachu’s shadows. It also means he gets to continue his fine career in the Netherlands should he impress.

Dessers can therefore look towards an exciting chapter of his career.

Kunle is an avid writer with interest in topics on sports, politics and health. His articles have featured in Goal.com, Opera News and Vanguard News. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in International Relations and is an advocate for people living with Hydrocephalus and other neurological conditions.

Follow him on Twitter: @kfayiga

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