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Brighton breaks transfer record to sign Iranian star

Morocco v Iran: Group B - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 15: Mehdi Benatia of Morocco clears the ball under pressure of Alireza Jahanbakhsh of Iran during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Morocco and Iran at Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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Alireza Jahanbakhsh says he chose AZ Alkmaar over Brighton and Hove Albion the last time he was on the transfer market, but things changed a lot before the Gulls broke its transfer record to bring him to south England.

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Jahanbakhsh, 24, left NEC Breda in 2015 after scoring 12 goals in the Dutch second tier. The Iranian star has steadily improved and posted 21 goals and 12 assists last season, leading the Eredivisie in goals and boasting an astounding 14 Man of the Match awards.

And Brighton is no longer in the Championship, now a second-year Premier League club with plenty of momentum. From brightonandhovealbion.com:

“Three years ago I didn’t know much about the club, but now I know a lot more. All of these reasons made me move to this amazing club. I was following the club’s games and results last season. The end of last season was a good time for me to move outside of the country. I decided to move and I was thinking a lot, asking people that I trust, and most of them were really positive about joining Brighton.”

Sure there’s a risk to any player joining a superior league, but Jahanbakhsh may carry less than most and Brighton has shown a keen eye for identifying players from other leagues whether big ones like Pascal Gross or smaller like Jose Izquierdo.

Follow @NicholasMendola