0330 GMT August 04, 2021
Iranian midfielder Alireza Jahanbakhsh said Feyenoord’s manager Arne Slot, his former coach at AZ Alkmaar, played a key part in convincing him to join the Dutch side.
Jahanbakhsh, 27, on Saturday signed a three-year contract – worth €1.10 million – with the Eredivisie club, bringing to end three disappointing seasons at Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Iranian international, who still had two years left on his contract with Brighton, had grown frustrated by lack of regular football in the Premier League club.
An injury-hit spell saw the Iranian make only 21 starts in 50 Premier League appearances over the past three seasons.
Speaking to Feyenoord's official website, Jahanbakhsh said, “During my time at AZ, Arne Slot, as an assistant coach, was one of the people who helped me become a better player.”
“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 [happen]. I had no doubts,” added the Iranian, who will be wearing the No. 9 jersey in his new club.
Feyenoord’s sporting director Frank Arnesen believes Jahanbakhsh’s recruitment adds “the desired offensive reinforcement to the [team] selection.”
“Moreover, he is now in the phase of his career where he can quickly be of enormous added value to us,” Arnesen said.
Feyenoord, under ex-head coach Dick Advocaat, finished fifth in the Dutch league last season.
Meanwhile, Brighton manager Graham Potter was quick to praise the Iranian, saying, “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.”
A former player of Iranian club Damash Gilan, Jahanbakhsh was first introduced to the Dutch, and European, football in 2013, when he joined NEC Nijmegen.
Jahanbakhsh scored 17 goals in 55 appearances during two seasons at NEC before sealing a move to another Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar.
The Iranian stole the headlines in his third season at AZ, scoring 21 goals and making 12 assists to help the club to a third-spot finish in the league and a place in Europa League.
Having scored 34 goals in 85 outings for AZ, the 2017-18 Eredivisie topscorer moved on with the next step in his stellar career, joining Brighton for a then club record of £17 million.
His most memorable moment in the English football probably came in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in January 2020, when he scored one of Premier League’s goals of the season with a bicycle kick in front of Brighton faithful.
Jahanbakhsh has been identified as a replacement for Dutch international Steven Berghuis, who joined Ajax on Friday, at Feyenoord, where he can find his form ahead of a possible participation at next year’s World Cup in Qatar.