West Bromwich Albion sporting and technical director Richard Garlick has revealed that the club spent five years tracking Morgan Amalfitano before finally securing his services over the summer.
The Frenchman was drafted into the Hawthorns on a season-long loan after 17 scouting reports had been carefully assessed.
The club's due diligence has been rewarded by a bright start to life in England for the 29-year-old - with two goals scored and three assists laid on to grateful team-mates, including a stunning effort in the 2-1 victory over Manchester United.
West Brom were left in no doubt that Amalfitano would prove to be a shrewd acquisition and were delighted to see an unexpected transfer door opened by Marseille on 1st September.
Garlick told the Birmingham Mail: "I don't think, internally, we're that surprised at how well he's done.
"We've got 17 reports over the last five years and we followed him a lot over the last two years. Steve Clarke also knew him from games against Marseille in the Champions League.
"We had watched him for a while but he was someone we weren't really expecting to become available to us. He was clearly at the level we thought was right for us."
Garlick added on a player who could make a permanent move in 2014: "He can play as a No.10 or anywhere in midfield. He's hit the ground running.
"Morgan has played at a high level for some time. He's used to that level. The bar is set high now. If we are going to improve the squad we need to bring in players who have played at a high level.
"We are an attractive proposition for clubs overseas. Those people who do their homework will know what we're about.
"It would be nice to do things earlier in the transfer window but sometimes it isn't possible - Stephane Sessegnon being a case in point. We didn't expect him to become available."