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How Alireza Jahanbakhsh will be remembered by Brighton fans

Jahanbakhsh

The Argus - We will always have the goal against Chelsea to remember.

Actually, whenever Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored for Albion, they were invariably very well struck finishes.

It just did not happen often enough. Four times in all, two of them against lower division opponents in the Carabao Cup.

Just two goals in the Premier League, within a few days of each other as 2019 turned into 2020.

And that, ultimately, is a big reason why it makes sense for Albion and the Iran international to part ways.

They gave it a go.

Certainly on the part of Jahanbakhsh, that he never really made it was not for the want of trying.

The most positive legacy he will leave for Albion fans is of a professional with an attitude and commitment to try and make things happen.

There was patience too but we already expected that.

Even when he signed three years ago next week, he recognised he had not been an overnight success in the Netherlands.

That he had to wait for the good times there too.

Five goals in his season at NEC, 12 in his second.

Three goals in his first season at AZ, ten in his second and then a league-leading 21 in his third.

So he was willing to give it time.

Remember he might have signed for Albion back in 2015 but instead decided to stay in the Netherlands, going to AZ rather than what would have been the Championship at that time.

Jahanbakhsh was thinking back to that steady progress in the Eredivisie when he spoke to The Argus after a game late in the 2018-19 season.

He expressed his regret over a lack of goals or assists at that stage.

By the midway point of the following campaign, there were suggestions he would go out on loan.

By that stage he had been tried, without success, as a right wing-back.

It was a move which made some sense but did not really work, even in the low key surrounds of a League Cup tie at Bristol Rovers.

And he had also played, at his own request, for the under-23s, stylishly setting up a goal for Bojan Radulovic before fading in a 3-1 defeat by West Ham at Crawley.

But he remained determined to keep trying all he could with Albion.

Leading up to the mid-season transfer window, there was talk of a loan move.

But he was keen to put that idea to bed.

He told The Argus: “Every player wants to play. There’s no doubt about it.

“But I’m happy here, to be honest, with the environment and the way the team is playing.

“It has been a year-and-a-half I’m here but I haven’t shown what I’m really capable of doing and that makes me feel a little bit disappointed.”

Asked whether he would look to get away in January, he replied: “I haven’t been thinking about it but I’m going to work hard to get my chance, my position.

“I’m going to work hard to get more minutes.”

It is easy to forget now how much excitement there was when Jahanbakhsh first signed.

Albion had just survived their first Premier League season and were ready to kick on.

Word of his arrival got out early, which is not necessarily a good thing.

Even straightforward signings can take longer than you might expect to get to the point where all the admin and media work has been done and the player’s arrival can be formally announced.

It was a long weekend as supporters awaited the confirmation.

What you often find is things go disconcertingly quiet just before the deal is completed – and that is what happened here.

Some fans managed to track the flight bringing Jahanbakhsh to Biggin Hill.

So much excitement. And it was indeed a big deal for Albion – or maybe not?

A £17 million fee was record-breaking for the club.

But it was a relatively small amount for a Premier League goalscorer.

Albion were looking to be inventive and seek value.

Those 21 goals the previous season suggested it was a step worth taking.

We know now it was not quite meant to be.

Not really explosive enough to play wide. Not enough of a presence to play down the middle.

But every now and then dynamic enough to make things happen, such as at Sheffield United or when putting in some dangerous balls at Wolves.

There was the emotion of that first goal against Bournemouth.

And of course the very special combination of technique, agility and confidence to secure that first ever point against Chelsea.

We will always have that to look back on from the Alireza Jahanbakhsh years.

The frustration for all concerned will be there was not an awful lot more.

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