It was announced on Friday, July 3 that Selangor will allow Malaysian youth star Luqman Hakim Shamsudin to join Belgian top tier side KV Kortrijk.
The club's acquisition of the striker who made Goal's NxGn 2020 list had been officially announced in September 2019, only nine months later that the transfer is seemingly going to proceed as planned.
Goal looks back at how the transfer developed, starting from the September official announcement, to the statement by Selangor last Friday.
20 September 2019 - In a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Kortrijk's Malaysian owner Tan Sri Dato' Seri Vincent Tan announced that the club will sign the youngster on a five-year deal when he turns 18 in March the following year. The initial plan announced for Luqman at the time was for him to train with another of Vincent's club, English Championship side Cardiff City until he turns 18 and is legally allowed to sign a professional contract.
Tahniah kepada pemain AMD B-17, Luqman Hakim Shamsudin yang akan ke KVK Kortrijk di Belgium. Kelab tersebut bermain di...Posted by National Football Development Programme - NFDP on Thursday, 19 September 2019
10 October 2019 - Just over a week later, British newspaper The Guardian named Luqman on their Next Generation 2019 list, as one of 60 of the best young talents in world football of the year. It would be the first time that the Kelantan-bred striker was recognised internationally. In March the following year, he would make Goal's own 50 best youth footballers list NxGn 2020, coming in at number 49.
November 2019 - The Mokhtar Dahari Academy (AMD) graduate scored a total of five goals in Group G of the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers, helping Malaysia U-19 qualify for the finals as group winners.
December 2019 - He was called up for Malaysia U-23's centralised camp ahead of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and made the final roster. Unfortunately, the Young Tigers had an underwhelming campaign and crashed out at the group stage, while Luqman failed to shine.
January 2020 - The start of a new year came, but Luqman was no closer to Europe. Instead he was seen training with the the newly-established Selangor reserve team, along with his Malaysia U-19 teammates and fellow AMD graduates, sparking rumours that his Belgium move has fallen through.
March 2020 - The Red Giants finally came clean and told the media that they were registering the youngster on their Premier League squad, ostensibly because the suspension of international travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic has halted his departure. But fans' hope of seeing him turn up in league matches were soon dashed, as the Malaysian league would soon be halted as well due to the coronavirus.
Not only that no matches could be held, team training too was suspended due to the enforcement of the movement restriction order by the Malaysian government. During the lockdown, Luqman was reported to turn to delivering meals on his motorcycle to pass the time.
10 June 2020 - Early this month, he revealed to Berita Harian that Kortrijk have summoned him to Belgium, sparking questions regarding Selangor's willingness to let him leave. Sources had told Goal that the AMD graduates signed by the club at the start of the season have a clause in their contract which allows them to leave for an overseas offer for free within the first year of their contract with Selangor. Association deputy president Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar was later quoted as saying that Kortrijk would be allowed to have the striker for free.
13 June 2020 - Luqman signed with El-Ef Sport, a representative agency with a London address. One week later, rumours surfaced that he has attracted the interest of English club Newcastle United as well as Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
EL-EF SPORT are pleased to announce the signing of one of the most exciting young talents to emerge out of Asia, @...Posted by El-Ef Sport - FIFA Licensed Match Agents & FA Registered Intermediaries on Friday, 12 June 2020
24 June 2020 - Questions were raised about Luqman's availability for the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship finals in October should he join Kortrijk, as clubs are not required by FIFA to release players for junior international matches. But Vincent later guaranteed that his club would allow the teenager to take part in the tournament.
3 July 2020 - On this Friday evening, Luqman appeared on a live chat video that was aired by the club on their Facebook page, fielding innocuous questions from the fans. Not an hour after the video was over, Selangor announced on their social media accounts that he will be allowed to leave for Belgium, with news reports later adding that the move was a free transfer.
While the announcement by Selangor should have ended all speculations, this is Malaysian football where stranger things have happened. Until he is seen landing in Belgium, it is hard to consider his move as a done deal. The youngster will certainly remain in the fans and media attention for a little longer!