Three years after then Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag said Mohammed Kudus would one day reach the stars, the Ghana star has got his dream move to the Premier League, but not to play for his former boss.
Ten Hag wanted him at Manchester United, there was also a deal on the table for Kudus to join Brighton, while Arsenal and Chelsea were also more than interested in the 23-year-old.
But it's West Ham who have won the race for the signature of the winger who could make his debut for the Hammers as soon as Friday night at Luton Town.
|What||Luton Town v West Ham United|
|Where||Kenilworth Road, Luton|
|When||20:00, Friday 1st September 2023|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event|
|Odds||Luton 4/1, Draw 11/4, West Ham 7/10|
"West Ham fans should be very excited," according to a man who knew Mohammed Kudus well, just as the Ghanaian superstar was beginning a journey that would end in a £38m move to East London.
Flemming Pedersen, the technical director at Nordsjaelland, the Danish club where Kudus first moved to in Europe, remembers the youngster turning heads with his skills and his confidence when he burst onto the scene in Denmark.
Kudus, who was still 17 when he arrived at Nordsjaelland from an academy in Ghana, enjoyed two eye-catching years at the club before Erik ten Hag, noting the "extraordinary potential" forked out the meagre sum of £8m to take him to Ajax.
Ajax, where developing young prospects is part of the club's fabric and history, was the perfect stage for Kudus to take the next step in his career.
And he signed off three years in Amsterdam in style, bagging a hat-trick in his final game against Ludogorets in the Europa League before boarding a plane to England and joining the big league.
Pederson says he won't be in the least bit surprised to see Kudus one day holding a Champions League winner's medal, but first things first, with West Ham to finish in the top six in the Premier League.
Kudus is young, talented, something of a maverick, a compulsive dribbler with a keen eye for goal and capable of frustrating as much as he is exciting.
In his short but blossoming career he has been used everywhere across the midfield and on either flank, as a No.10 or a No.6. Back in Ghana, before he left for Europe, he was even deployed as a left-back.
Versatility is one string to his bow, but Edson Alvarez, another new recruit at West Ham from Ajax, assures the Ghanaian gem is best suited to running the lines between midfield and attack.
Kudus' skillset wasn’t exactly a secret in this country. He was part of a Nordsjaelland academy side sent to England in 2017 just after he had arrived at the club, and he caught the eye - a lot of eyes.
He then made his international debut for Ghana at just 19 when he was already being linked with moves to Ajax and elsewhere.
When he got to Ajax he would win two league titles and the Dutch cup and then he really announced himself on the global stage at the World Cup, starting all three games for Otto Addo's Black Stars and scoring twice in a 3-2 win over South Korea.
Chris Hughton, part of Addo's coaching staff in Qatar and now the national boss, knows Kudus well and calls him an elite player.
Also, in a move aimed at tempering over-optimism, he suggests the kid from Accra will need time to adjust and adapt to the pace and intensity of the Premier League.
Kudus was sold West Ham by the set-up, the history, the European football and the persuasive skills of the club's technical director Tim Steidten.
Clearly bigger fish were biting, but Kudus fancied the London Stadium and teaming up with his favourite player, Lucas Paqueta.
No one doubts he is exceptionally gifted and he will turn heads and excite Hammers' fans.
Manager David Moyes, of course, is a tough old bird and it will be interesting to know whether the Scot is as taken with Kudus as Steidten, given the summer-long struggle to try and strengthen the Hammers' squad.
It's unlikely Moyes will throw him in from the start at Luton where the Hammers - buzzing after back-to-back wins over Chelsea and Brighton - are 7/10 to make it three in a row.
But if the 23-year-old attacker can match the hype and live up to the billing, then it won’t be long before he's one of the first names on the teamsheet.
But that, in the best and toughest league in the world, is a big if.Football – Premier League