Sacked Cologne sporting director Heldt regrets signing Dennis, Arokodare

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The two Nigerian youngsters failed to impress during their stay at Cologne and played no part as the side fought hard to retain their top-flight status through the playoffs

Former Cologne sporting director Horst Heldt has admitted that he made a terrible mistake in recruiting the Nigerian duo of Emmanuel Dennis and Tolu Arokodare.

Dennis joined Cologne from Club Brugge temporarily in January as the German side looked to overcome the struggles of converting chances to goals, which was dragging them into the relegation waters.

But the one-cap Super Eagles ace failed to justify the 1.2 million euros Cologne paid for his services as he didn’t register a goal in his nine league games.

Only a last-gasp playoff victory over Holstein Kiel prevented the Billy Goats from suffering relegation by which time Dennis’ had already been informed his loan deal won’t be made permanent.

Heldt confessed that Dennis was a fine footballer but that the Club Brugge-owned attacker’s character affected his integration with his teammates and the club.

“He’s not an easy guy,” Heldt said of Dennis, as per the Express.

“We knew about this problem, but we took too much risk. We misjudged that.

“Dennis caused a stir because his behavior was not what the squad needs to be doing. We then dropped him because our priority was the group.

“That was a bad transfer that is my responsibility.”

Cologne sacked Heldt on Sunday after confirming their place in the Bundesliga next season, and the veteran administrator insists another transfer that weighed against him was that of Arokodare.

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The young striker, who notched 15 goals in 16 games for Valmeiras last year, couldn’t find the back of the net in the ten league matches he was featured.

Heldt explained that Arokodare’s quality was not yet up to Bundesliga standard, and the 20-year-old would have needed to go out on loan deals for two years to make the grade.

Since that was not a time frame that Cologne could afford, Heldt, who signed off on the deal, accepts that it was an error on his part.

“He (Arokodare) too ultimately failed because the team did not accept him. In terms of sport, of course, he’s not quite that advanced yet.

“If you made this transfer, you would have had to loan him out for two years. That was a mistake from my side.”

The two Nigerian attackers are expected to return to their parent clubs this June after the expiration of their temporary deals.

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