Football London – LONDON, The 31-year-old spent two years at Craven Cottage and will be hoping to fire Iran to the last 16 at Russia 2018.
There might be no Fulham players to cheer on at the World Cup 2018 in Russia this summer, but there are certainly a few with connections to west London to keep an eye on.
One of those is Askhan Dejagah, the Iranian international who turned out for the Whites for two seasons.
Now 31, Dejagah will be playing his second World Cup as his country take on the likes of Morocco, European champions Portugal and Spain, one of the favourites for the tournament.
It won’t be easy for Iran or Dejagah, with most expecting the country to crash out of the competition at the group stages, but the forward will be hoping a strong World Cup will see his chances of getting a new club increase after being released by Championship Nottingham Forest at the end of his contract.
The forward left Fulham after relegation to the second tier of English football, but what happened to him after that? We take a look at the Iranian’s path from the Cottage to Russia.
Fulham were relegated at the end of the 2013-14 season as they finished 19th in the Premier League, but Dejagah impressed the fans who voted him ‘Player of the Season’ after netting six goals, most of which were long range strikes.
He left the club to join Qatar side in July 2014, reportedly on a contract worth £80k per week, but has since said that he left Craven Cottage with a heavy heart.
“I had a great time at Fulham, so it was not easy for me to leave,” Dejagah told Fulham’s official website.
“It was a really difficult situation for me because Fulham was like a family club. In my two years they really were in my heart.”
He made 49 appearances for the Cottagers in total before a change in scenery beckoned.
Move to Qatar and Al-Arabi
After featuring in all three games during Iran’s 2014 World Cup campaign in Brazil against Nigeria, Argentine and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dejagah signed for Al-Arabi in Qatar for an undisclosed fee.
In his first campaign there he helped the side finish eighth before being named their Player of the Season in the following season.
However, after that Al-Arabi’s board members wanted to remove him from the club’s squad and did so in 2016 – a move which signalled the end of his stint in Qatar, which finished in January of 2017.
Return to Germany
Dejagah returned to Germany and signed for previous club Wolfsburg, with whom he won the Bundesliga with in 2009, putting pen-to-paper on a six-month deal in January 2017.
It didn’t go well for the Iranian, who suffered a hamstring injury shortly after heading back to Germany, meaning he was sidelined for nearly four months.
He only made two appearances for the German outfit, both coming in the relegation play-off fames against Eintracht Braunschweig as he came on as a substitute, with Wolfsburg eventually winning the tie 2-0 on aggregate.
However, Wolfsburg decided not to extend his contract and announced he would be leaving the club at the end of that season.
Move to Nottingham Forest
Dejagah was without a club until January 2018, but was continued to be picked in Carlos Quieroz’ Iran side as they looked to qualify for the World Cup.
In January 2018, Nottingham Forest announced they would be signing forward on a deal until the end of the season.
It was more of the same story for Dejagah, who made just the one substitute appearance for Forest, coincidentally against Fulham at the Cottage, before getting injured.
That injury meant he wouldn’t play again for Aitor Karanka’s side, but he has still been picked in the Iran side that go to the World Cup for the second competition in succession.
He’s going to be hoping he can impress onlookers in Russia as he finds himself without a club once more after Forest announced he would be leaving the City Ground at the end of his contract.
With games against Portugal and Spain coming up, there’s every chance he could perform well enough to earn him a deal elsewhere in Europe.