Cologne close in on Khalatbari

PFDC - COLOGNE, Mohammad-Reza Khalatbari could be the next Iranian to play in German Bundesliga.

FC Cologne, who are in desperate need of a winger, tested the 25-year-old Monday and Tuesday after a recommendation of former Team Melli assistant coach and current member of the Esteghlal Tehran coaching staff, Erich Rutemöller.

The Zob Ahan Esfahan offensive allrounder left a good impression and is now about to return to Iran to wait for the results of the medical checks and reportedly the arrival of a first draft of the contract.

The transfer, however, still seems to be all but certain. Cologne coach Zvonimir Soldo and his assistant Michael Henke are said to be yet unsure if Khalatbari's lacking physical strength might be a problem in Germany. Additionally, Zob Ahan's unwillingness to sell the player together with the alledged price-tag of 400.000 Euros are putting the deal in doubt.

Beside Khalatbari, Cologne reportedly also are interested in Sporting Lisboa winger Yannick Djalo.

Khalatbari would be the second Iranian to play for Cologne after Khodadad Azizi (1997-1999).

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