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Iranian winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh seems to be in high demand in the Premier League, with Burnley, Watford and Bournemouth monitoring the AZ Alkmaar man, according to reports from the Daily Mail.
The 23-year old has had a great season with the Dutch Eredivisie side, but the club are open to selling the Iranian international in the summer for £9million, the report claims. Jahanbakhsh has scored 9 goals and set up 9 more for the AZ this season from 40 appearances across all competitions.
Amid serious interests from several English clubs, let’s take a look at what he will bring to the table.
Born in the small town of Jirandeh in Northern Iran, Jahanbakhsh’s career began with the youth academy of local club Damash Gilan in 2008. He then spent a season away at Damash Tehran – an affiliate of his parent club, in 2010 where he made his debut in Iranian second tier. Upon returning in 2011, the youngster would go on to make his first appearance in the Iranian Pro League with Gilan as a 17-year old, becoming one of the youngest players to have represented the club.
Ten goals in 42 games for Gilan in two seasons, along with some eye-catching displays for the Iran U-20 and U-23 national teams, seemed to have put him on the map and Dutch side NEC Nijmegen snapped him up on a three-year deal in the summer of 2013. The club struggled in his first season in Netherlands and were relegated, but Jahanbakhsh shined brightly, scoring 6 times and registering 5 assists in 33 games.
He was once again impressive in his second season with NEC Nijmegen in the Dutch second-tier, helping the team back to promotion, with 12 goals in 28 games. His excellent showings put several big teams on alert, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Celtic among many others monitoring him.
However, Jahanbakhsh chose to move to AZ Alkmaar instead in the summer of 2015 on a five-year deal. He had to wait for close to 6 months for his first goal for his new club, which ironically came against his former club NEC in January 2016. He finished the season with 3 goals and 7 assists from 30 games but has come into his own in the ongoing campaign.
The 23-year old made his debut for the Iran National Team back in October 2013, as a 20-year old and was also a part of the squad that participated in the FIFA World Cup. Till date, he has represented the national team on 23 occasions, scoring 3 times.
The 23-year old is primarily a winger who can operate on both flanks but can also play through the middle as well. With blistering pace to burn, Jahanbakhsh is known to terrorise defences with his running but is not a one-trick pony either.
Equally comfortable in going wide to stretch the play and pump in crosses and cutting in from the flanks to take a shot at goal, the Iranian has all the attributes to develop into a fine attacker. His accurate crossing and the ability to pick out a through ball are his chief avenues of racking up assists, while he also displays a sense of calm and poise in front of goal. Standing at 180cm tall, he is also a force in the air and is always willing to help his team out defensively.
The only marked weakness in his game is the fact that he tends to give away a lot of fouls and as a result accumulates a lot of cards. However, it is something that can be ironed out with experience and proper guidance.
Along with Sardar Azmoun, Jahanbakhsh has been regarded as the next biggest star of Iranian football and has been tipped for big things.
With interests from three English clubs, there is a good chance that he could be plying his trade in the Premier League come next season.