Graham Potter talks about Alireza Jahanbakhsh squad absence

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The Argus – BRIGHTON, There is no stopping the summer transfer talk – even with the season seven games from its finale.

Albion are in the thick if it already.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh is the latest to be mentioned – as a departure.

Ajax have been linked with his services and, of all teams in a Dutch league where he has starred, they are the best placed financially to get him.

The Argus understands PSV would also be very interested in the Iran international who has not made Albion’s 20-man squad for both Premier League restart matches so far.

Albion have inevitably been speculatively linked with various names in terms of signings.

And Ben White’s future will be a talking point in Leeds over the next few weeks.

Albion head coach Graham Potter was not drawn on White when he gave his pre-match press conference yesterday. Why should he be?

White went on loan to learn under Marcelo Bielsa, to improve, to play in high-stakes matches in the ultra-competitive Championship and to show what he can do.

He has done all that so, if Albion complete the job of retaining Premier League status, why should anything have changed?

It remains easier to see why Jahanbakhsh might move on although all indications Potter has given are that he enjoys working with him.

Equally, Jahanbakhsh stressed to The Argus he wanted to say with Albion back in the first half of the season after suggestions he was set to go out on loan in January.

By the time January came he was reinvigorated by a pair of goals at the turn of the year, including an overhead kick to bring in 2020 in style.

But, very similar to Jurgen Locadia last season, that purple patch just after Christmas has not been built on.

So it is easy to see why it might be perceived that Jahanbakhsh could be tempted away in what promises to be a summer of careful budgeting.

He has not made the 20 as yet this month but Potter is keen to stress that the bench is not necessarily the best of the rest.

That makes sense. Last season, for example, Bruno and Martin Montoya found it hard to make the bench as a specialist right-back when the other was in the XI.

Equally, if Potter felt Jahanbakhsh was his most likely game-changer, he would be in his 20.

The Albion boss said: “Every player is disappointed when they are out of the squad, regardless of the final number.

“Sometimes you can make decisions on a starting eleven and then you look at the balance on the bench and sometimes a player can miss out on the 20 but is actually quite close to the starting eleven.

“He is that type of player that I just mentioned. You can make a different decision from the starting eleven, then with the amount of attacking players we have on the pitch.

“Maybe with the make-up of it he’s just been a bit unlucky. He has been top in terms of how he has worked, his professionalism, his support for the team, how he’s conducted himself has been incredible.

“It’s so hard when you have to make those decisions to leave players out, especially like Ali.

“He deserves to be in the starting eleven and the squad, he deserves that with his attributes, with his work.

“It’s just the joys of the head coach. He has to make the decision and at the moment he’s been unlucky.”

Jahanbakhsh is not been the only player we have not seen yet.

Although Steven Alzate officially remains available for selection, he has not featured due to an ongoing groin issue which will eventually require minor surgery.

Bernardo also missed out on the 20 against Arsenal and Leicester.

That could change as a defensive option if Adam Webster is sidelined by a hamstring problem.


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