This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how bad a deal the club got.
Iran did not look out of place in a World Cup group containing Spain and Portugal in 2018, narrowly missing out on the last 16 despite holding the European champions to a draw. Alireza Jahanbakhsh featured in all three of their games at the finals in Russia and, a month later, he had earned himself a move to the Premier League.
Two years ago today, Brighton completed the signing of the Iranian winger in a £17.1m deal (as per TransferMarkt), which at the time was a club record fee. However, he had to wait until three months after his arrival to make his full Premier League debut in a win at Newcastle, with a hamstring injury shortly afterwards taking a chunk out of his season (as per TransferMarkt).
Jahanbakhsh was given a run of starts towards the end of the campaign but, with the Seagulls only narrowly surviving a battle against relegation, his first season in England ended with him failing to score or even set up a goal in 24 appearances totalling more than 1,400 minutes. [via TransferMarkt]
Even though Chris Hughton was replaced by Graham Potter last summer, the £20m acquisition of Neal Maupay (as per BBC) heightened the competition for places in Brighton’s attack and left the Iranian facing an even tougher battle to prove himself at the Amex Stadium.
He had played just 22 minutes of Premier League football in 2019/20 before being surprisingly named in the starting XI against Bournemouth in December. However, that game finally saw him score his first goal for the club and his emotion was evident in his celebrations. Not content with that strike, he plundered a late equaliser against Chelsea four days later. It was no ordinary goal, though, as the 26-year-old produced a stunning overhead kick to rescue a point for the Seagulls.
Sadly, those moments served only to provide a false dawn for Jahanbakhsh at Brighton, with the winger playing just 20 minutes since the league returned last month and, despite missing some games through a hamstring injury, he has sometimes even failed to make 20-man matchday squads since the lockdown – a damning indictment of where he stands in Potter’s pecking order.
Should Brighton keep or sell Alireza Jahanbakhsh?
The club’s transfer links with QPR’s Bright Osayi-Samuel during the week could also spell danger for the Iranian’s career in Sussex, where he has scored just two goals in 1,864 minutes of game-time for Brighton, averaging one goal per 932 minutes. It is a poor return for a player who cost £17.1m – for only £3m more, Maupay has struck 10 goals in 2,770 minutes this season (one every 277 minutes).
Jahanbakhsh will always have that magnificent goal against Chelsea, while his show of emotion after his first Brighton goal shows that he very much cares. Unfortunately, that such moments are so easily recalled indicates how rarely he has come to the fore for the Seagulls despite his hefty transfer fee, proving to be the exception rather than the norm.
Brighton fans, have you been disappointed with Jahanbakhsh in his time at the club? Share your views in the comments section below!
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