It's little wonder why Huddersfield Town boss David Wagner has made midfielder Aaron Mooy the club's record signing this summer and most expensive Australian player in history.
Looking for a player who would help implement the German manager's blueprint at the John Smith's Stadium, they grabbed the Australia international on loan from Manchester City at the start of the 2016-17 Championship campaign and Mooy became central to the Terriers' surprise promotion to the Premier League.
The 25-year-old made 48 league appearances last season, operating in a deep, central role alongside Jonathan Hogg. The pair were very much the platform which allowed the front four to flourish, with the former slightly more defensive, and Hogg the man who dictated the tempo of the game.
"Aaron has been a consistently outstanding player for us," Wagner said of Mooy following the club's victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final. "And I have said this before – he is the heart of our game. He is able to decelerate when necessary, or accelerate the game if you need it."
His importance to Huddersfield last season is unquestionable and that has been further underlined by the club's decision to complete a permanent deal for an initial £8 million, rising to £10m.
WHO IS AARON MOOY?
Mooy was forced to fight his way to the top.
Having failed to establish himself as a first-team player with then-Premier League side Bolton Wanderers as a teenager, he suffered an injury while at Scottish outfit St Mirren, forcing him to return home to Australia. And, while he competed in two consecutive A-League grand finals with the Western Sydney Wanderers, it wasn't until he switched to Melbourne City - one of Manchester City's sister clubs - in 2014, that he was taken notice of.
Mooy would go on to be named Player of the Season in his debut campaign for his new club and eventually force his way into Ange Postecoglou's Socceroos set-up, for whom he has now made 28 appearances at senior level.
It came as no surprise when Manchester City then signed him to a three-year deal last year, and even less of a surprise when he was immediately loaned out of the club. Mooy was a signing for the City Football Group, City's holding company, rather than for the Premier League side. City have, in the past few years, secured deals for a number of young talents only to loan them out and sell them at a considerable profit. Mooy has now followed suit after signing a contract until 2020, with the option of a further season, with Huddersfield.
"Aaron is so comfortable and calm on the ball, and has developed his fighting attitude since he arrived," Wagner said of Mooy. "He came here as a No.10 and, usually, 10s are not the best fighters. But now, since he played a little bit deeper, he has a great fighting attitude.
"You don't often find a player who is so comfortable on the ball and has such a battling streak to go alongside it."
Without Mooy, it's a wonder if Huddersfield would currently be preparing for their first season in the top flight since 1972. They certainly wouldn't have dominated specific games as they did. His hunger to get on the ball and distribution once in possession allowed those in front of him to thrive.
Apart from Fulham's Tom Cairney (3,632) no player in the Championship completed more passes than him (3,101) over the season. He ended the season with seven assists and four goals, averaging 2.5 tackles per outing.
“He’s important to Australian football. He’s always been the same player,’’ Australia assistant coach Ante Milicic previously told the Herald Sun . “He’s a confidence player who likes to be involved a lot and in charge of set-pieces, corners, likes that responsibility of taking penalties and has a shot on him.
“He wants the ball, gets upset when players don’t pass to him. Whether he’s free, on angles, got a man up him, he always wants to receive. He doesn’t go hiding and that’s the beauty of him."
There's very little to dislike about Mooy. A player who keeps himself to himself away from the pitch, the 26-year-old never shies away from a battle when on it. He is far from physically imposing, however, and struggled to compete in the air during parts of last season. He was successful in 52/115 of his headed duels.
He also only completed 83 of his 193 attempted tackles, and conceded 45 fouls during the season, though these numbers somewhat skew his impressive all-round game.
He is, however, untested in the Premier League, something which makes predetermining his potential success in the top tier difficult.
West Brom, Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion were all thought to have been monitoring his situation, but Huddersfield have persuaded Mooy to join on a permanent basis.
As unglamorous as Huddersfield may be portrayed, the Wagner revolution at the John Smith's Stadium is an exciting prospect to be a part of, and Mooy has the opportunity to complete the job he has been so involved in creating while developing into the player he promises to be.
After completing the deal, Wagner said: “His performances for us understandably brought a lot of interest in him this summer, so it is a big statement that Aaron wants to return to us. I think he understands that playing so regularly for us at a good level improved his game too and now he has the chance to be a regular in the Premier League; something that is very exciting for every player.
“He is still a great age and has space to improve, which is exciting for us too!"