Midfielder-cum-forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh has been a revelation for Dutch outfit NEC Nijmegen since signing from Iranian club Damash Gilan in July 2013 and now could be on the move again thanks to stellar first season in Europe.
Having been previously linked to the club earlier this year, football agent Biba Bulic has claimed on BBC 5 Live that United are one of several teams tracking the exciting wonderkid and that a bid this summer could be on the cards.
Comfortable in any number of attacking positions, Jahanbakhsh was one of the driving forces behind NEC’s battle to avoid relegation last season, while playing mostly out wide where his pace and trickery consistently put Eredivisie defenders to the sword.
With five goals in 27 games over the course of the 2013-14 campaign, the 20-year-old’s efforts at such a young age were certainly commendable and, though his performances were ultimately not enough to save the club from the drop, they undoubtedly served to turn many heads across Europe.
Having only recently broken into the Iran squad, Jahanbakhsh comes to the World Cup with just seven caps to his name but, despite his relative lack of international experience, still stands out as one of their brightest hopes at the tournament.
Brought off the bench in the team’s final three warm-up games against Montenegro, Angola and Trinidad & Tobago, respectively, his playmaking instincts and nose for goal could see the dynamic phenom forced into a much-warranted starting role in Brazil, as former United assistant Carlos Queiroz looks to inspire his side to an upset in Group F.
Pitted against Nigeria, Argentina and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jahanbakhsh’s play from either the wing or the number 10 role will be crucial towards determining whether the unfancied nation can spring a surprise over the coming weeks and, should he perform up to his potential, there would surely be few more teams chasing the highly-rated youngster’s signature in the near future.
It would certainly be a surprise to see him remain at his current club past this summer and, with new United manager Louis van Gaal sure to be already familiar with his play in Holland, Old Trafford could well be the likely destination.