Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of Iranian international Alireza Jahanbakhsh, from Dutch Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar, for an undisclosed club record fee.
The signing of Jahanbakhsh becomes the clubs eighth major signing of the summer and adds to a list of exciting new recruits.
The 24 year old winger has signed a five year deal which will see him contracted with the Albion until June 2023.
According to the Brighton and Hove Albion website, Club Manager Chris Hughton said: “We are delighted to welcome Alireza to the club, and we are particularly pleased to get this deal over the line.”
Hughton added, “Ali is a player that we have been aware of and monitored for a few years, and his versatility will increase our attacking options within the squad. He can play in a wide position or central midfield attacking role, and I am now very much looking forward to working with him.”
Jahanbakhsh first signed for Damash Gilan in 2008 as a youth player, before beginning his professional career in 2010 with Iranian 2nd Division side Damash Tehran (an affiliate of Damash Gilan), making 12 appearances.
Subsequently in 2011, still aged only 17, Jahanbaksh returned to Damash Gilan making his debut in the Iran Pro League. Over the following 2 years, he successfully made 42 league appearances for Gilan scoring 10 goals.
The attacking midfielder then moved to Holland to sign for Dutch outfit and at the time Eredivisie side NEC Nijmegen, penning a three-year deal.
During his two year spell at NEC, Jahanbakhsh produced some remarkable moments. On the final day of the 2013–14 season, he scored two late goals against Ajax to save NEC from automatic relegation, to instead secure a relegation playoff spot. Furthermore, at the end of the 2014-2015 season, Jahanbakhsh was selected by fans as NEC’s player of the season and was voted as the Eerste Divisie’s best player of the season, with twelve goals and eighteen assists in the league.
As a result of this success, a move to Dutch Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar followed in the summer of 2015.
During his successful time at Alkmaar, he made his UEFA Europa League debut in October 2015 and was named the best winger of the 2016–17 season in the Dutch League. However most notably, after scoring a hat trick on the last day of the season, he was named leading goal scorer of the 2017 – 18 Eredivisie season with 21 goals, becoming the first Asian player ever to become the top goalscorer in a top level European league.
Jahanbakhsh’s impressive achievements last season at Alkmaar were listed by Brighton and Hove Albion on their official Twitter:
Internationally Jahanbakhsh has been capped 41 times for Iran which includes most recently being called up to represent Iran at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He went on to feature in all three of their World Cup group games against Morocco, Spain and Portugal.
As he now awaits to make his Premier League debut – his biggest challenge yet, from Brighton and Hove Albions official Twitter Jahanbakhsh states:
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) July 26, 2018
The winger, who can play with both feet, is described as being techinically gifted and praised for his assisting ability. With a good club record and an international career already behind him at just 24, Brighton fans will be eager to see Jahanbakhsh in action for them and what he can bring to the team, as they prepare to embark on their second Premier League season.