Tag: Rubin Kazan

Sardar Azmoun: Bayer Leverkusen Add Goals And Depth Below Market Value

Manuel Veth

It is one of the more exciting transfers of this Bundesliga transfer window. On the day before deadline day, Bayer Leverkusen signed Sardar Azmoun for $4.4 million from Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg. The 27-year-old Iranian had previously agreed on a free summer transfer with Die Werkself. Overall it is a brilliant deal for Leverkusen, who signed the forward in a deal significantly below Azmoun’s $27.5 million Transfermarkt market value.

“We’re delighted to have completed this transfer,” Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes said in a club statement. “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, regularly played in the Champions League, and shown himself to be of international class at the highest level. Our attack gains extra quality with him. Sardar will make our attack even more unpredictable and powerful.”

Azmoun, without a doubt, brings added depth to Leverkusen’s attack. The 27-year-old has been a star in Russia for some time and joined Zenit from Rubin Kazan in February 2019 in a deal worth $13.2 million. It was Kazan who found the striker in Iran, where he played for Sepahan’s youth academy. But it would be at Rostov where Azmoun made a name for himself, scoring 25 goals and six assists in 77 games. Two of those goals came against Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid in Rostov’s memorable 2016/17 Champions League campaign.

Rostov had bought the striker for just $2.53 million in 2016 from Rubin Kazan. But Russian football is not always that straightforward. Like many Russian clubs, Rostov always struggled with finances, and Azmoun wanted out of the club. Around that time, Azmoun was consistently linked with a move to one of the top four leagues; reports suggested links to Liverpool, several Italian clubs, but also Borussia Dortmund.

Instead, what happened was so very typical for business practices of clubs in the post-Soviet space. Only very few institutions in the region are able to develop players and sell them at the right time. Also, players often fail to find the right move, add agents to the mix, and it becomes a difficult proposition all around. Azmoun, for example, did not move to Europe but instead back to Rubin Kazan in 2017, where the owner, the Republic of Tatarstan, was once again on a spending spree.

Those spending sprees, however, also come and go; Rubin as a club has always been between very rich and very poor; there is no middle ground. As a result, Azmoun was sold to Zenit in 2019. For most talented players based in Russia, the story would have ended here—Zenit, owned by Gazprom, can pay wages at a tax rate that is often impossible to match for the big clubs in Europe and, as a result, players are unlikely to move on.

The same was thought of Azmoun, but instead, the Iranian has made the move to a top-four league after all. What remains to be seen is whether the move comes at the right time; Azmoun is no longer a talent but, at 27, a veteran. At the same time, that can be an asset too; Leverkusen receives a player with significant experience in the ups and downs of a football career.

But how will Azmoun fit in the squad? At first glance, Azmoun is a clear-cut number 9, and in that position, Leverkusen has Patrik Schick, one of the most productive strikers in European football. But Schick has been heavily linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund, where he could replace Erling Haaland. Azmoun could be an investment for the future, a possible replacement for the Czech goalscoring machine.

There is, however, also room for Schick and Azmoun to play together. Although most commonly employed as a lone-striker in a 3-4-3 system by Zenit this season, Azmoun has also played with a Schick type of number 9 in Artem Dzyuba this year. Azmoun can add more tactical depth to Gerardo Seoane’s side at Leverkusen. In fact, the Swiss head coach previously preferred a 4-4-2 system rather than the 4-2-3-1 system used by Leverkusen this year, adding Azmoun now.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth 

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Italian media: Roma loses Azmoun to Bayer Leverkusen!

According to some Italian media, Azmoun is heading towards the Bundesliga. The Team Melli central forward who opened his scoring this season with a goal this weekend is the center of much speculation about his immediate future. The player himself is tight-lipped so is the Russian club, but that does not prevent daily news about his possible transfer out of Zenit.

footballItalia.net has published the following report today:

Roma are expected to miss out on Zenit St Petersburg center-forward Sardar Azmoun, as Bayer Leverkusen are closing on a deal.

The Giallorossi and Germans were both interested in the 26-year-old Iran international.

His contract with Zenit is due to expire in June 2022 and he seems ready to move on for a new experience.

According to Tuttomercatoweb, Roma are not going to pursue Azmoun, as he has already pledged his future to Bayer Leverkusen. The Bundesliga outfit still needs to agree terms with Zenit, who are asking for circa €20m.

However, they are expected to whittle it down and probably get closer to that fee than Roma was prepared to pay.

Azmoun has 34 goals in just 52 senior caps for Iran, playing his club football for Rubin Kazan, Rostov and since February 2019 at Zenit.

He found the net 19 times in 29 competitive games for Zenit St Petersburg last season, as well as setting up six goals for his teammates.

Azmoun suitors.

No doubt that the global lockdown and ceased football activities have deprived the media of reporting on football’s numerous competitions and actions on the field thus denying the journalist and reporters from vital sources of material to fill pages and pages of newspapers or electronic media.

To compensate for that, the media has found an alternative source of news off the field and mostly focused on the transfer market.

This subject has always been doggy, to say the least as the countless number of false and fabricated news that has marred transfer market news has relegated such reports to the dustbin department with the significant majority of the fans losing interest in them. The fabricated news, many times originated by some of the players themselves for self-serving purposes or forcing their demands on their clubs, has left a bad taste in the mouths of true football fans.

 However, What do you know as the subject of transfer news is suddenly alive and right at the top on the football news by the virtue of one COVID-19 endemic.

In this neck of the woods, the player who has been constantly in the limelight is no one but Sardar Azmoun.

The Team Melli and Zenit St. Petersburg striker, has been the subject of all sorts of transfer targets which neither the player himself or the club has ever confirmed.

After the English, then Scottish clubs’ interest, the focus shifted to Napoli of Serie A who were supposed to be the front runners in the race for Azmoun. However, it seems that Napoli must wait in turn as others are supposed to be interested as well.

Somewhat at this, it seems that La Liga club Sevilla FC is seeking to recruit him as well.  Sardar Azmoun has spent his entire professional career in Russia, between Rubin Kazan and Rostov, until January 2019 when Zenit paid 12 million Euros for his transfer and signed him to a contract until 2022.

Now, the Saint Petersburg club, given the number of suitors who are linked to their player, would be asking for no less than 25 to 30 million, according to ‘Breakingnews’. The suitors, which includes Sevilla FC in a list of five clubs, are interested in the 25-year-old forward, who in the current season added 14 goals and 7 assists in his 29 official matches, currently being assessed by Transfermakt at 14.5 million euros, although his value a few months ago was 18 million.


KAZAN, RUSSIA – JUNE 20, 2018: Iran’s Sardar Azmoun (L) and Spain’s Gerard Pique in a First Stage Group B football match between Iran and Spain at Kazan Arena at FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. Sergei Bobylev/TASS (Photo by Sergei BobylevTASS via Getty Images)

The rivals of the Sevilla FC club would be West Ham, Atlético de Madrid, Fiorentina, and Nápoli, who seem most interested in closing the signing of Azmoun as soon as possible and could present a formal offer shortly to avoid the auction that could stand out when the market opens, according to the aforementioned source.

‘Breakingnews’, adds that it is the intermediary Fali Ramadani who is in permanent contact with the Spanish director of Zenit, the Spanish Javier Ribalta, as well as with the footballer’s family to evaluate all possibilities.

The premier league side West Ham are one of several clubs in a ‘fierce competition’ to sign Sardar Azmoun according to http://sportwitness.co.uk/

As on many other fronts, therefore, competition would be high if Sevilla FC decided to move for Azmoun, the protagonist of a curious story because before deciding on football, he played volleyball and went international for his country in several age level teams without playing a single match in the domestic Persian Gulf Professional league.

Azmoun, a Turkmen born in Gonbad-e Kavus has scored 32 goals in 50 matches at the international level for Team Melli.

He is perhaps the most valuable player in Team Melli who missed the FIFA World Cup 2014 by a whisker when Carlos Queiroz, despite his strong admiration of Azmoun’s talent,  decided to exclude him from the squad heading to Brazil because of his young age.

Mahdavikia urges Sardar Azmoun to continue his European success.

Sardar Azmoun has been one of the few Iranian players that continue shinning in European football.

The Team Melli striker who has never played a league game in Iran’s domestic league has broken the record of goals scored in UEFA Champions League competition by Iranian players held jointly by Ali Daei and Mehdi Mahdavikia who both scored 3 goals in total in that competition.

On Wednesday 2nd October 2019, in the Zenit St. Petersburg match against Benfica, Sardar scored his second goal in as many matches in this competition this season to increase his tally to 4 goals overall. Sardar has already scored for FC Rostov before joining Zenit.

Mehdi MahdaviKia in response to Sardar Azmoun’s achievement said: “I am very happy to see Sardar scoring in the Champions League. After a few years, we see a bright Iranian player at this level who is making us all proud.” He continued: “We have not had an Iranian player at this level for many years and I am very happy Azmoun has been able to achieve this. I hope his goals scoring continues.

Mahdavi Kia, in response to Sardar’s passing his record, said: “It was not a record that was impossible to achieve as three goals were there to be broken. However, I hope Sardar can score more goals and continue his success in the UEFA Champions League to achieve a much better record”

On the other side of Europe, and to be precise, in Glasgow, there still seems to be some regret with the fact that Sardar did not transfer to the Scottish Champion and instead elected to Join Zenit.

Glasgow Celtic reportedly wanted to bring Sadar Azmoun to the Scottish Premiership before he started scoring Champions League goals for Zenit St Petersburg.

Most Celtic fans would give an arm, or perhaps a finger or two, to reach the latter stages of the Europa League this season according to Scottish sports journalist, Danny Owen

“It’s been far too long since The Hoops really competed on the continent and Neil Lennon has a huge challenge even plotting a way out of a Europa League group containing Lazio, Rennes and a Cluj side who triumphed 4-3 at Parkhead just two months ago.” He wrote in his blog.

“Fortunately, Celtic have one of the sharpest young strikers anywhere on the continent now. In his third season in green and white, Odsonne Edouard is showing the sort of form that will have defenders everywhere quaking in their boots.”

But, for all his qualities, and that clinical header against Cluj on Thursday, Edouard still cannot hold a candle to Sardar Azmoun when it comes to scoring goals in European competition.”

According to The Mirror (22 April, page 48), Celtic wanted to sign the so-called ‘Iranian Messi’ back in the summer of 2018, shortly before he left Rubin Kazan for Zenit St Petersburg in a deal worth £10.5 million (L’Equipe).

Since Azmoun was linked with a move to the Scottish giants, he has taken his game to a whole new level, scoring five goals in just six games in both the Champions League and the Europa League. His most recent, a brilliantly taken solo effort against Benfica, sealed three points for Zenit on Wednesday night in the Champions League group stage.

In total, Azmoun averages a goal every 1.2 European games, compared to Edouard’s 2.7.

Liverpool and Sardar Azmoun

Team Melli striker, Sardar Azmoun has finally reacted to rumours about the Interest of the European Leauge Champions, Liverpool FC interest in signing him.

Azmoun said “Whatever the case, I am a Zenit St. Petersburg player and I am bound by the contract. If there is anything, then the club will make it public. Right now, I have nothing to add”

Liverpool have been scouting Zenit Saint Petersburg striker Sardar Azmoun and the Iranian’s excellent form has impressed the onlookers, according to reports in Russia. Azmoun has been in exceptional form in the Russian Premier League side Zenit Saint Petersburg ever since his winter move to the club from Rubin Kazan. The 24-year-old moved to Zenit from Rubin Kazan on 1 February this year and has been finding the back of the net on a regular basis ever since.

Azmoun has scored 14 goals in 17 matches across all competitions since his arrival, including the two in the Russian Super Cup on Saturday, which Liverpool scouts were in attendance for, according to SovSport. Zenit went on to lose 3-2 to Lokomotiv Moscow, but the brace from the Iranian appeared to confirm to the visitors from Merseyside that he is the bright talent they thought he was. Currently, Jurgen Klopp team has Mohammed Salah, Saido Mane, Roberto Firmino, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi in their forward line.

Liverpool was first linked with Azmoun back in the January transfer window of 2017, but he was not interested in the switch due to a likely lack of game time.

“There were talks of Liverpool having expressed an interest in me during the past winter transfer window,” Azmoun said in 2017.

“However, I did not feel the time to move was right.  I would have ended up playing a few games and then spent a great deal of time on the bench as Liverpool were only looking to fill a void for a particular part of their season.  I want to move to a big club to develop as a player and therefore I will time the move with great precision.  I am sure I will be playing for a top European club in the near future.”

Azmoun commented on the replacement for Queiroz and said: “I am very pleased that Wilmots’ appointment. He is a great coach for the national team. He and Queiroz are both good coaches. My point is that we should be happy to welcome a new coach and show due respect to the one that departed as well”.

Azmoun was asked about the change in tactics and how it affected him during the World Cup 2018 by the way the team played, he said: “At the World Cup, I was tasked to retreat and support our defensive line, while I never did it before in my career. Maybe that’s why people were criticizing me. It’s good now that the national team plays an offensive plan, but if we play aggressively and do not conclude, people still say criticize”.

“I do not seek the Iranian scoring record,” he said, referring to the large number of international matches and the possibility of him breaking the all-time goal-scoring record currently held by Ali Daei. Azmoun said “Ali Daei is a great player, a legend. Anyone can perhaps beat this record but that still does not diminish the value of the player.”

Speculations about Azmoun transfer to Lazio!

A few days after some websites reported that Team Melli and Zenit St. Petersburg striker Sardar Azmoun is wanted by the Italian Seria A club Lazio, no confirmation has been issued by either sides or the players himself.

Azmoun has been linked with a sensational move from Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg to Italian Serie A giants SS Lazio.

Sardar performance this season with Zenit since his January transfer from FC Rubin Kazan , was nothing but sheer excellence. He has scored 12 goals in 16 games helping Sergei Semak’s side lift the Russian Premier League title and qualifying for the UEFA Champions Leauge 2019/20.

While the striker was missing for the Team Melli two friendly games against Syria and South Korea for a slight knock, the speculations were rife about plans for his transfer to Italy.

Azmoun, who has been previously linked with the Italian club in the past seasons, has recently signed a contract with FC Zenit which would make such transfer little complicated for Lazio.

It is quite unlikely for Azmoun to leave Zenit after such a short stay.

Sardar Azmoun shows Wolves what they are missing with Europa League heroics

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ reported move to bring Iranian Messi Sardar Azmoun to the Premier League fell through in the January transfer window.

Whatever became of Sardar Azmoun?

According to Sky Sports, Wolves had agreed a deal to sign the Rubin Kazan striker on the final day of the January transfer window, only for the move to fall through at the eleventh hour.

Wolves wanted the option to sign Azmoun permanently in the summer for £11.5 million. Rubin, however, wanted the deal to include an ‘obligation’ for a permanent transfer – regardless of how he gets on in English football.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side backed out as a result. And, just days later, Azmoun moved to Zenit St Petersburg instead for a fee of £10.5 million, according to L’Equipe.

If he was disappointed about missing out on a move to Molineux, he didn’t show it on Thursday. Zenit were a goal down to Fenerbahce in their Europa League round of 32 clash and needed to turn the tie around in front of their own supporters.

Step up the ‘Iranian Messi’.

Sardar Azmoun (L) of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg celebrates his goal with Branislav Ivanovic during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 second leg match between FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and...

Azmoun turned on the style on his home debut, inspiring Zenit to a 3-1 win which puts them into the next round with a towering header reminiscent of Cristiano Ronaldo, let alone Messi. His second, which clinched the game, was clinically dispatched into the bottom corner with 15 minutes to go.

Unsurprisingly, he was nominated for the Europa League Player of the Week award. And his £10.5 million price-tag is already looking like a bargain.

Omid Team list for Oman match is announced.

Zlatko Kranjcar has announced the list of 22 players who will join the U23 team for the friendly match against Oman on 20th November.  The match will be held in the Omani Capital Muscat and is a part of the preparation for the upcoming challenge at continental level and the qualifying for the Olympics.


the squad


Abol Fazl Jalali (Saipa)

Abolfazl Razzaghpour, (Peykan)

Ali Taheran (Tractoration Tabriz)

Allahyar Sayadmanesh (Esteghlal Tehran)

Amir Roustaei, (Peykan)

Aref Aghasi (Foolad Khouzestan)

Hamid Reza Taherkhani (Persepolis)

Hossein Saki (Sanat Naft Abadan)

Mehdi Ghaedi (Esteghlal Tehran)

Meiraj Ismaili (Zob Ahan)

Mohammad Aghajanpour (Padideh Mashhad)

Mohammad Khodabandehlo  (Peykan)

Mohammad Mehdi Mehdikhani (Padideh Mashhad)

Mohammad Reza Azadi (Tractoration Tabriz)

Nader Mohammadi (Peykan)

Omid Darreh (Saipa)

Omid Noorafkan  (Chareloi )

Reza Jebeireh  (Sanat Naft Abadan)

Reza Karimi (Esteghlal Tehran)

Reza Shakari (Rubin Kazan)

Shahab Adeli (Sepahan),

Sina Zamehran (Padideh Mashhad)

Sardar Azmoun returns back to Team Melli

After the FIFA World Cup 2018 , Sardar Azmoun decided to abandon Team Melli citing fans abuse and his mother’s ill-health.

Querioz, however, always insisted that this is a temporary measure and he will bring back the Rubin Kazan back to the team as he considered Azmoun as a key player for Team Melli for the AFC Asian Cup.

After missing the Uzbekistan game, Azmoun , who has scored his team winner this weekend, reported to the Team Melli camp to resume training today.


Few hours before the World Cup 2018 Draw

Team Melli is only hours away from knowing its fate in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 draw. Iran is in Pot3 with a potential of a tough draw. This is the first time that Team Melli has qualified for the FIFA World cup for a second successive time. This feat was achieved by the Carlos Queiroz and for that, the Portuguese will be forever remembered.

Team Melli was the first Asian side to qualify for this tournament and did so with an impressive 12 consecutive clean sheets. However, the downsize of this record is that Team Melli is hardly exemplary at the front with only an average of 1 goals scored per game.

Queiroz is well known for his philosophy of solid defense and closing all the flanks. His facet of tactics is “reactive football” with a deep-lying defense and quick counterattacks. Queiroz changed the game plan in recent friendlies against Russia, Panama and Venezuela, where Team Melli played with a differently, pressing higher up the pitch and adopting a more aggressive approach.

Carlos Queiroz Plans

Carlos Queiroz, despite a temper and petulance that has caused many outwardly senseless controversies in recent years, is very popular in Iran because of the results and performances. The Portuguese is the football equivalent to Donald Trump who picks up fights, with anyone that crosses his line be it a charity worker, footballer, journalist or a club coach. Despite his irritable and vindictive character, most critics believe that he has made a difference in Iran’s football, at least at National Team level by giving Team Melli real character and building a solid group of player. For that, he is much more accomplished in his job that the American President.

What he lacks in finesse and character, Queiroz certainly makes up in coaching skills, passion and man management. Iranian players are not very well versed in discipline or professionalism, but under Queiroz some of Team Melli players with attitudes or transgressions, soon found themselves out of the squad in a flash. The rest heard the message well and learned the lesson.  Queiroz, not much of an aficionado of the domestic league, has always preferred Europe-based players, as this gives him some assertion of technical discipline that the domestic leagues sorely lack.

Luckily, there are a large number of players in the current squad that play in Europe, including 3 who actually earn their living in Russia; Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan) , Saeid Ezatolahei ( FC Amkar Perm on loan from FC Rostov) and Milad Mohammadi ( Akhmat Grozny)

 Regardless to which teams will be in Iran’s group, Germany, Spain and Nigeria being about the toughest or an easier ride on paper of Russia, Croatia and Panama, Team Melli will be a tough nut to crack.

The fans, however, would wish to see some more courage by Queiroz and less of the “Park the Bus” approach.