Why Fulham should keep promising World Cup star at all costs

Ashkan Dejagah

Ashkan Dejagah could leave Fulham this summer but the club must try and keep him.

It's not easy for a relegated club to keep their best players.

Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United, Birmingham City, Middlesbrough and an endless list of sides have had to fight that particular uphill battle, and now it's Fulham's turn.

With West Brom after Kieran Richardson and Besiktas reportedly close to signing Kostas Mitroglou on loan, the bids are coming in from all angles, some more welcome than others.

But there is one man Fulham must look to keep at all costs and he is proving a real star at the World Cup in Brazil.

Iran's Ashkan Dejagah may have worried fans by talking up a move back to the Premier League.

“I don’t know what will happen next season,” he told the Daily Star. “I still have a contract at Fulham and have liked it there but it is a hard situation.

“Of course I want to play in the Premier League but I will focus here and then we will see what happens.”

  PosGoalsAssistsDribbles WonAccurate CrossesApps
Steve Sidwell MF 7 2 25 2 38
Ashkan Dejagah MF 5 2 34 18 22
Dimitar Berbatov FW 4 1 14 3 18
Kieran Richardson MF 4 3 16 21 31
Darren Bent FW 3 2 1 0 24

As Opta stats show, however, any potential Dejagah exit would prove disastrous for the Cottagers.

The west London club have already lost their top scorer Steve Sidwell, although fans have generally expressed their approval at releasing an ageing midfielder. Iranian Dejagah, though, is 27, with possibly his best years ahead of him.

In terms of goals and assists, Dejagah struck at crucial times last season, winning games off the bench for Felix Magath. The midfielder also made significantly more dribbles than his team-mates, as well as crossing well from out wide. In the Championship, he could surely add even more.

But it's Dejagah's performance at the World Cup that is making everyone take notice.

  TeamDribbles WonAccurate CrossesSuccessful Final-Third PassesAppsMins
Ashkan Dejagah Iran 3 6 5 2 163

Despite turning out for relative World Cup minnows Iran, the 27-year-old has not been afraid to take on his man and has fashioned numerous chances for his side.

Carlos Queiroz's outfit as a whole have been praised for their collective efforts, earning a point against Nigeria and almost edging past Argentina. In both games, Dejagah impressed, meaning suitors will likely circle once they enter the business end of the transfer window.

Simply put, however, if Fulham want to bounce straight back to the Premier League, Dejagah must be kept at all costs. If not, the Cottagers must settle for only the highest of bids.

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