Malaysian teen sensation Luqman Hakim Shamsudin has finally put pen to paper with Belgian top side KV Kortrijk, in an event held in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, August 6.
But when talking to the press, the club's Malaysian owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan revealed that the Belgian side had initially been reluctant to bring the forward over.
Detik-detik bersejarah buat @luqmansham10 menandatangani kontrak bersama @kvkofficieel tadi. 😀— Team Malaysia (@TeamMsia) August 6, 2020
Sentiasa yakin dengan diri sendiri & bekerja keras dalam latihan di Belgium 🇧🇪 nanti. Kami doakan kejayaan anda. 😊 #sTayMindful #staysafe #newnormal #RMCO #KamiTeamMalaysia pic.twitter.com/xrCrPcATLM
"It was a big decision by the club, to give him a five-year contract. The management thought that he is too young, but as the owner I said 'we'll give him a chance.' When they are young they can run faster than the older players, and they have a higher value.
"And it helps that Luqman has been listed as one of the best young footballers in the world and that he's recognised," says the tycoon, referring to The Guardian and Goal's top youth footballers lists that the 18-year old has been named on.
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"I told the club that they must let him play instead of simply benching him. He needs to prove to the coaches that he's good enough to play, even only as a substitution, even just for 10, 15 minutes. Let's see if the manager agrees with me. Sometimes a club owner can't simply tell the manager what he doesn't want to do.
"As the owner, I decided to give an opportunity to another Malaysian. And the club need to train him and give him opportunities. Surely they can give him a chance when the owner is Malaysian himself? They'd better play him, or not we'll just be paying him 'gaji buta' (Bahasa Melayu for getting a salary despite not doing any work)!" explained Vincent.
But he is adamant that Luqman can thrive in Europe, while hinting at the prospect of financially profiting from his success.
"However, at the end of the day, he has been signed because I believe that he can succeed. I'm not doing it just for show, it's a five-year contract after all. I am serious.
"God willing he'll succeed, and who knows maybe we'll get to make 20 million [from selling him to another club]. If it's 20 million, Selangor will profit too! They stand to get a percentage [of Luqman's future acquisition by another club], you know? If you want to know how big the percentage is, ask them yourselves," he hinted with a laugh, referring to the Kelantan-born player's former club.
The Malaysia junior international is expected to leave for Belgium next week.
🔺WELCOME LUQMAN 🔺— KV Kortrijk (@kvkofficieel) August 6, 2020
🇲🇾 Hakim joins KV Kortrijk and signs a 5-year contract!
🔴⚪️ #WelcomeHakim pic.twitter.com/XxubbYKYXD