Brighton transfer news: How much did Albion receive for Alireza Jahanbakhsh, why he joined Feyenoord, what his agent said
So Alireza Jahanbakhsh finally departed with more than a hint of frustration for all concerned.
For Jahanbakhsh, he will head back to the to Eredivisie with Feyenoord for a reported fee of £5m with regret that his Premier League career never took off at Brighton.
For the club, they will look back at a then record outlay of £17m when they signed the Iranian from AZ Alkmaar in 2018 – plus £40,000 per week in wages – and feel it was a deal where they never came remotely close to achieving value for money.
And for the fans, despite a few brief glimpses, they will reflect on a talented and very likeable player whose potential went unfulfilled.
Jahanbakhsh’s agent felt his man was harshly treated at Brighton and promises of first team football were made and then broken.
“They told us we needed him, but I told them that we have been hearing these promises for two years, and now you have to respect Alireza’s decision,” Amir Hashemi said this week.
Perhaps there is some truth to this but when Graham Potter had a fit strike force, Jahanbakhsh was a little way down the order. He was a regular for Chris Hughton in his first season but it looked clear from the start that his style and Potter’s system didn’t quite match.
His departure seemed likely for the last few transfer windows and perhaps the most surprising aspect is that his exit took this long.
He could have stayed for another season, banked the money and featured in a few cup matches but, aged 27, Jahanbakhsh, who made 61 appearances for Albion – 31 from the bench – was determined to return to the Netherlands where he will reunite with his former AZ coach Arne Slot who is now the boss at Feyenoord.
He first moved to Holland with NEC Nijmegen in 2013, and made 64 appearances and scored 19 goals, winning the Dutch Eerste Divisie title in his second and final season at the club.
A move to Alkmaar followed in 2015 and the Iranian was the top scorer in Eredivisie in 2017/18, where he netted 21 goals in 33 appearances.
He also has also earned more than 40 caps for Iran and featured in all three of their games at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“During my time at AZ as assistant coach, Arne Slot was one of the people who helped me to become a better player,” Jahanbakhsh told Feyenoord’s website.
“So when he called and asked if I wanted to come to Feyenoord, I told him I was going to do everything I could to make this transfer. I had no doubts.”
The Iran international was often praised by Potter for his faultless attitude in training and last season he pushed hard for a starting role. He scored a couple of cracking goals in the Carabao Cup against Portsmouth and Preston but still struggled to get a run the Premier League.
Head coach Potter said, “Ali has been a very good professional and great to work with, but this move is a good one and gives him the chance of more regular game time, which is not something we are able to guarantee.
“I’d like to thank Ali for his hard work during my time here and wish him all the best for the future.”
Jahanbakhsh scored just four goals for Albion, the most memorable his overhead kick against Chelsea at the Amex on New Year’s Day 2020.
That came a few days after his first goal for the club, another standout strike in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
His exit is part of the squad trimming Potter was keen to carry out and often spoke on last season. It follows the exit of goalkeeper Maty Ryan who joined La Liga outfit Real Sociedad and left back Bernardo who signed for Red Bull Salzburg.where he finished last season on loan.