Alhassan Yusuf will hope new Belgian club Royal Antwerp are the launch pad for him to subsequently feature in his dream destination – the Premier League in England.
Midfielder Yusuf,20, has made a long overdue move from Swedish club IFK Goteborg to join ambitious Antwerp, who will now provide a shop window for him to make his way to a major league.
Antwerp have undergone a major re-organisation ahead of the new season with a new coach, the departure of the legendary Dieumerci Mbokani and the signing of seven new players thus far.
They finished third in the championship playoffs and were beaten finalists in the cup.
They will feature in the UEFA Europa League in the new season.
In three years in Sweden, ‘Hasse’, as he was called by adoring Goteborg fans, proved his class as a tactically-shrewd, bandy-legged midfield grafter, so full of running and energy.
In 2019, the former FC Hearts star was named Young Player of the Year in Sweden and last year, he won his first major trophy in Europe – the Svenska Cupen, the equivalent of the cup in Sweden.
Overall, the Kano-born Yusuf made 77 appearances, scored twice and provided nine assists for one of the traditional clubs in Sweden.
Previously, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City as well as Sheffield United were linked to him.
Experts regard him as an up-grade of N’Golo Kante and say the high-intensity of the football in the Swedish Allsvenskan has more than prepared him for the high tempo of the Premier League.
‘Hasse’ is also a versatile midfielder who is comfortable both in defence and attack with his lack of goals his biggest drawback.
Interestingly, he has yet to be capped by Nigeria at any level.
He came close to feature at the 2019 U20 FIFA World Cup in Poland, but his Swedish club eventually blocked this opportunity.
The strong hold of his new agents, ICM Stellar Sports, is the Premier League and should Yusuf now spark a revival of Antwerp in Belgium, it will not be long before he makes his way to the Super Eagles and on his way to the toughest league in the world.