Fulham have been watching Harry Wilson for a while, which is why his arrival from Liverpool this weekend shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The Welsh winger made his mind up before this summer’s European Championship that he would need to leave Liverpool after sixteen years at Anfield to further a career that was in danger of failing to reach its early potential without regular first-team football.

Fans have been critical of Fulham’s recruitment in recent years as relegations have followed successful Championship campaigns, but Wilson’s pedigree at the level the Whites now find themselves simply can’t be questioned. He has been a regular goalscorer in the second tier since an eye-catching spell at Hull City delivered seven strikes in thirteen appearances as he helped drag the Tigers away from the relegation zone, winning the April player of the month award.

It was in Wilson’s peerless quality in his next loan spell, where he flourished under Frank Lampard at Derby County, that made plenty of experienced football observers sit up and take notice. He demonstrated his versatility by lining up as a number ten on several occasions, drifting into dangerous pockets of space as part of fluid Derby attacking line-up. A stunning total of eighteen goals and six assists in 49 games illustrates just how unplayable the Welsh wizard was. His eye for a pass came to the fore at Pride Park and also in an outstanding display in the play-off comeback against Leeds United. There were countless examples of his astonishing set-piece ability – most famously in Derby’s famous triumph at Old Trafford – that was honed over countless hours on academy training pitches.

Wilson’s penchant for running at defenders, threading clever passes into forward areas and his long-range shooting makes him a triple threat to Championship defences. His ability to cut in from the right onto his favoured left foot might remind you of someone, but he’s managed not to become predictable. You can’t boil down a player’s effectiveness to mere statistics but Wilson’s numbers are distinctly impressive – in 90 Championship appearances, he has scored 29 goals and made another nineteen more. He’s scored nine goals direct from dead ball situations, an area where Fulham have been found wanting far too often in recent years.

It was a measure of just how successful Wilson was at Derby that some were disappointing with his return the following season with Bournemouth, even though he scored seven times in 35 matches in a tough campaign for the Cherries. The winger was impressive again last season with Cardiff, with Mick McCarthy lauding his committed displays and discounting the idea that his flair player wasn’t working back enough or shirking tackles. ‘Nothing could be further from the truth,’ McCarthy told the local press, insisting that Wilson was capable of going back to Liverpool and making his mark.

Liverpool’s loss – as they sought to raise funds for Jurgen Klopp to supplement his Anfield squad – could easily be Fulham’s gain. Wilson has had to grow up quickly following a stellar career in youth football, becoming Wales’ youngest-ever international when Chris Coleman handed him a debut against Belgium at the age of sixteen. He has scored crucial goals for his country – curling home a match-winning free-kick in Dublin to settle a Nations’ League tie against the Republic of Ireland and adding a decisive second in Azerbaijan to seal a crucial Euro 2020 qualifying success. There’s nothing to suggest that the big occasion fazes Wilson, as evidenced by that brilliant free-kick that stunned Manchester United.

Fulham have been laborious and workmanlike under Scott Parker, with a focus on being tough to beat – even in the Championship. Marco Silva has emphasised the importance of playing attractive, front foot football and in Wilson, he has a player who possesses all the attributes to get the Craven Cottage crowd on their feet. With worries about how well Tom Cairney’s knee will stand up to another Championship season, Wilson could be an intriguing alternative number ten as well as providing top tier competition for Fulham’s underperforming wingers, Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro.

Wilson’s initial four-year contract at Craven Cottage suggests that Fulham believe he can make a long-term impact down by the Thames. His first task is to supply the moments of magic that helped him make his name as a precocious talent. You can already feel Aleksandar Mitrovic licking his lips at the prospect of Wilson’s addition into the Fulham supply line – the end result could be a sight to see.