Sardar Azmoun enduring a nightmare season after failed Tottenham move
HITC – LEVERKUSEN, If there was one moment that summed up Sardar Azmoun’s Bayer Leverkusen career, it occurred just a few weeks before the Qatar World Cup in late-2022.
Back in October, Patrik Schick, last season’s talismanic top scorer, suffered an adductor injury that would keep him out of action until well into the New Year. What an opportunity this was, then, for Azmoun to finally silence the doubters and remind the Leverkusen supporters what all the fuss was about when he arrived from Zenit St Petersburg.
Well, perhaps a better way to phrase it is ‘what an opportunity it would have been’.
Because Azmoun, as luck would have it, found himself stuck on the treatment table at exactly the same time as Schick. And, with the one-time Roma ace on his way back to full fitness, a rare opportunity for Azmoun to finally establish himself as a starter at the Bay Arena appear to have slipped agonisingly through the Iran international’s fingers.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR ONCE WANTED BUNDESLIGA FRONTMAN SARDAR AZMOUN
It’s easy to forget, given that Azmoun has scored just once for Leverkusen and none in 2022/23, that this was a man in very high demand not so long ago.
“I had offers,” Azmoun said back in September 2020. “From Lyon, Roma, Bayer (Leverkusen), and Tottenham Hotspur.
“But all the offers were rejected.”
Newcastle United, Burnley and Marseille have reportedly shown an interest over the last two years or so as well; with one former Zenit midfielder questioning why the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich were not taking a chance on a player who, at the perennial Russian champions, scored an emphatic 62 goals in 104 games; a number of those coming on the Champions League stage.
In St Petersburg, Azmoun looked like an elite-level centre-forward crying out for an elite-level club.
“Sardar Azmoun has been one of Russian football’s top goalscorers for several years. He’s been champion three years in a row there with Zenit. He regularly played in the Champions League. And he showed himself to be of international class at the highest level,” Leverkusen director Simon Rolfes said when the one-time Everton target arrived a year ago.
“Our attack gains extra quality with him. Sardar will make our attack even more unpredictable and powerful.”
12 months on, following just one goal in 24 appearances, that early excitement has given way to frustration and concern.