Wokingham.Today – READING, From Rostov to Reading, via Belgium, Uzbekistan and France.
The deal to bring Saeid Ezatolahi to Reading has been far from straightforward, but the Iranian international is set to finally arrive in England this weekend.
The 21-year-old completed his season-long loan move from Russian outfit FC Rostov on August 31, the final day of the summer transfer window.
But he is yet to arrive at Hogwood with all previous stages of the deal completed elsewhere across the globe.
“He hasn’t reported yet,” explained Royals boss Paul Clement.
“As we speak (on Thursday afternoon), he is in Paris.
“He was on international duty with Iran and they played Uzbekistan. He played a good, significant amount of the game and he set up the goal, so that’s good.
“He is in Paris to get his visa. Everything is in place now, the visa has been approved and we’re just waiting for it to be collected.
“So he’s got to go back to the office to collect it, that’ll probably be on Friday and then he’s free to travel to the UK.
“We expect him to arrive here either Friday or Saturday. He’ll do some light training on Saturday, on Sunday the players are off and he’ll start fully with everybody on Monday.”
Clement added: “After the World Cup he had some rest time. He did go back to Russia, Rostov for a couple of weeks where he was training and then there has been a period where he hasn’t been there and he’s been back in Iran.
“He lost a little bit of time but fortunately during this period where he was with the national team, clearly he’s been training and he’s already played a game.
“So he might need a bit of time, but I don’t think he’ll need that much. I’ll assess it as soon as I see him.”
Paul Clement insists there are no problems behind the scenes at Reading
The announcement of Ezatolahi’s arrival came as a surprise to many, with the deal accelerated during the final week of the transfer window.
Reading had been chasing Swansea City midfielder Jay Fulton on a permanent deal, but when that fell through they moved to snap up Ezatolahi on loan.
But Clement hopes that could turn into a longer term deal.
“I hope he has a long future here,” said the Reading manager.
“The situation with the deal at the moment is he’s on a loan for the season because when we signed him, it was obviously outside the period where we could do a permanent, so it’s on an initial loan.
“Hopefully he does really well and it’s a long-term thing.
“It was brought to my attention late in the window. We had a week. During that week it was about gathering as much intelligence as possible, speaking to people he had worked with.
“Fortunately I was able to have a good conversation with Carlos Queiroz (Iran’s national team boss), who spoke really highly of him.
“Then I spoke to the player and got a really good feel about him and we’re really pleased to get it over the line.
“It was a little bit complicated. You’re dealing with Russia, you’ve got the situation where he’s Iranian so you’ve got the visa issues, international clearance and those type of things.
“He had his medical in Belgium at Roeselare because it was difficult to get him here to do the medical because of the visa, but in the end we got it over the line.
“A really complicated deal.
“We’re looking forward to working with him. I think he’s going to be a good addition to us.”