Victor Moses has been named the PFA Fans' Player of The Month for November. Dan Levene looks at the slow-burning miracle of Moses.
When Moses scored the winner in last weekend's London derby victory over Tottenham, it capped-off a performance that had been his most stand-out for the club in the four and a bit years since he signed.
The issue here is over the course of the five seasons during which he has been a Chelsea payer, this was only his 19th league start – and that, along with an incredible and harrowing personal experience, is what makes Moses' story so remarkable.
When Moses lined-up for Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on 19 August 2012, there was an open secret in the air.
“Victor Moses – we'll see you next week,” sang the Blue-tinged away end. And that is precisely what happened.
When he was unveiled before the Stamford Bridge crowd, just six days later, he was introduced as 'a young Londoner' – something that said much about the reason for his acquisition, but attempted to hide a story implicit in making him the man he went on to become.
Roberto Di Matteo was the manager, but it was not the Italian who signed Moses.
That was down to Michael Emenalo, who made the move with little more than a nod in Di Matteo's direction, and saw the then 21-year-old as an investment for the future.
The fee of £9m seemed a lot at the time, Wigan having pushed back a series of increasing offers, but Emenalo was buying a homegrown – which added real value.
Moses had been resident in London for a decade by that stage, but he had been born in the Nigerian capital Lagos: where his father was a Christian minister.
Both his parents were tragically murdered, in sectarian clashes, and his family paid his way to England – where he arrived as an orphaned asylum seeker.
He was settled into a school, not that far from the UK immigration arrivals centre at Croydon, and was later spotted by Crystal Palace scouts playing boys football.
They invited him to join the club academy, and he was relocated into the prestigious Whitgift fee-paying school, where ex-Chelsea defender Colin Pates was (and remains) the school football coach.
As years passed, he broke into the Palace team, moved to Wigan, and then caught the eye of Emenalo.
But what happened next adds to the marvel of the tale.
Moses made only a dozen league starts in that first season at Chelsea.
Di Matteo was replaced by Rafael Benitez: and the winger struggled to make the team, aside from in cup games.
It was after one such game I remember chatting to him in the basement of Middlesbrough's Riverside ground: he having scored the second in a 2-0 FA Cup fifth round triumph.
He was quiet, very quiet. But smiled throughout, and appeared boundlessly positive.
Sadly, no record of that conversation exists, as it happened at the precise same moment that Benitez went on his infamous anti-fan rant upstairs, and all three reporters present negated to take a single note – in the face of the much bigger story that was unfolding.
Under the returned Jose Mourinho, Moses had three impressive pre-seasons. But each time he was sent out on loan immediately afterwards: to Liverpool, Stoke and West Ham.
At each club he was used as a back-up option, and failed to play more than half a league campaign.
But still he kept coming back: trying his hardest in pre-season, and impressing all – except, seemingly, the manager.
Mourinho's demise was the catalyst for him, and new boss Antonio Conte has said it was immediately apparent to him the potential that existed in the now 25-year-old.
And it is a change in position, to that of wing back, that has enabled the Nigerian to truly fly – and pick-up that prestigious fan award.
Moses seems to have kept the same outlook throughout: quiet, willing to do whatever it takes, hard-working and positive.
His story is one that shines as an incredibly heartening one: in what can be the often unpleasant, ego and money-driven world of football.
And, after four years with Chelsea, it is a story that is really only just beginning.
Victor Moses, Chelsea's four-year overnight success – you'd never believe it could happen, if it weren't actually true.