Scouting Report: Could Alireza Jahanbakhsh Be Added to Chelsea Talent Stockpile?

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Scouting Report: Could Alireza Jahanbakhsh Be Added to Chelsea Talent Stockpile?
Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

Could NEC Nijmegen's Iranian international Alireza Jahanbakhsh—a 20-year-old, 5'11", 172-pound forward—be another prospect Chelsea adds to its talent portfolio

To cover that hypothetical, here is a scouting report on Jahanbakhsh


Jahanbakhsh's Undistinguished 2014 FIFA World Cup

Then-Iranian manager Carlos Queiroz, who has since quit, tried to implement a free-flowing brand of football, so it was surprising that a player of Jahanbakhsh's ability was used sparingly. 

Jahanbakhsh did not start a single World Cup game for Iran.

  • Made three substitute appearances 
  • Failed to score or create a goal. 
  • Took one shot. 
  • Made 16 passes. 
  • Completed one dribble. 
  • Averaged 16.3 minutes per game. 

When Jahanbakhsh played in Iran's 3-1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina, he was deployed on the left wing, but was only involved in one play which led to a scoring chance.


Jahanbakhsh NEC Positives

Appearing in 59.3 percent of Eredivisie games as a substitute, Jahanbakhsh showed immense promise.

League Only Alireza Jahanbakhsh Christian Atsu
Starting % 40.7 96.4
Games 27 28
Goals 5 5
Shots Per Goal 8.6 13
Assists 4 6
Key Passes Per Game 0.9 1.9
Dribbles Per Game 0.9 2.0

Atsu is two years older and started on a substantially stronger team in sixth-placed Vitesse, yet his statistics are comparable to Jahanbakhsh's, an impact sub who played for relegated NEC

Jahanbakhsh has outstanding scoring instincts and can facilitate for his teammates. 

Racing on to the ball, Jahanbakhsh marvellously scored a missile-like long-range shot against AZ.

Jahanbakhsh intercepted Ajax utility player Daley Blind's pass, attacked the open space, and curled the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Blind was blind-sided by Jahanbakhsh shifting into high gear and lifting the ball over Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.

Heerenveen centre-back Arnold Kruiswijk does not close down Jahanbakhsh, who created a goalscoring opportunity via an outswinging cross to NEC central midfielder Soren Rieks.

Jahanbakhsh makes astute runs and finds ways of making pivotal plays.

He took advantage of a defensive breakdown from Kruiswijk and Heerenveen left-back Jukka Raitala by running in between the two. 

This enabled Jahanbakhsh to win an uncontested header, nod it towards NEC centre-forward Michael Higdon, who half-volleyed the ball past Heerenveen goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.

Jahanbakhsh contorted his body to nimbly head the ball past AZ goalkeeper Esteban.


Jahanbakhsh NEC Negatives

Jahanbakhsh needs to improve his goals-to-shots-taken ratio.

Jahanbakhsh cut past Raitala to get a clear sight on goal, but failed to test Nordfeldt.

Put through on goal against Heracles Almelo, Jahanbakhsh fluffed his lines.

Jahanbakhsh only converted 15.6 percent of goalscoring chances, per


Bottom Line

Chelsea management are attempting to create a revenue stream by stockpiling prospects, who are NOT first-team material, but can be sold for a profit. 

  • Bet on talent.
  • Loan to feeder club Vitesse, or another club in Europe's elite league.
  • Attract bidder/s.
  • Negotiate advantageous transfer fee. 

While nowhere near Porto in terms of manipulating the transfer market, Kevin de Bruyne was a breakthrough transfer win for Chelsea in the Roman Abramovich era. 

Yes, Jahanbakhsh had a mundane World Cup for Iran. But like former NEC player (now Ajax and the Netherlands national team goalkeeper) Jasper CillessenJahanbakhsh has elite upside.

If signed by Chelsea, Jahanbakhsh could garner a significant transfer fee within the next three years. 



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