Sutton United boss Paul Doswell has insisted Stefan Payne can rediscover the form that landed him a move to Premier League Fulham.
The 20-year-old returned to Gander Green Lane this week on an 18-month deal after seeing his contract at Aldershot Town cancelled by mutual consent.
The Cottagers paid Sutton £50,000 for Payne's services in 2009, before he switched to Gillingham in 2010 and then the Shots in the recent January transfer window.
And Doswell, who picked up his former protégé for nothing, believes he can become a big player for his play-off chasing side.
"It is probably the best bit of business I've ever done if you look at the figures," said the manager.
"Stefan is a tremendous footballer, but needs games. He made 35-odd appearances at Gillingham, but got only two starts and it looked like that would happen again at Aldershot.
"If he can get 40 or 50 senior games under his belt there is no reason why he couldn't get back up to where he was. He will score goals."
Doswell, who handed former Bradford City man Lewis Hunt a debut in Saturday's 1-0 win over Basingstoke Town, agreed to let Joel Ledgister join Hampton & Richmond Borough for an undisclosed fee
this week - days after defender Neil Jenkins headed in the same direction this week.
"Joel still has a dream of making it as a pro. He is an excellent player and suits their style of passing football," he added.
"I want to see him play football and if he gets a run of games he will be flying again."
United secured a Surrey Senior Cup semi final berth on Tuesday with a 4-1 win at Combined Counties League Premier Division side South Park, which featured a third goal in as many games from Harry
Beautyman, who hit the winner at the weekend.
"We are taking the competition seriously because a bit of silverware keeps the momentum going," said Doswell, who saw further strikes from Craig Watkins, Matt Reece and an own goal on Tuesday.
"Whatever happens in the league or cup, we are having a terrific season."