Johnny Cantor / The curious case of Brighton and Hove Albion's Alireza Jahanbakhsh
By Johnny Cantor
Birmingham. Saturday. 1.59pm.
There is only one thing on the mind of most of the reporters in the stand or in the media lounge. The impending team news will give the first clue as to the story of the day.
Commentators scan the sheets for changes in personnel and formation. It doesn’t always work out that way of course. Throw referees, VAR, red cards and late goals in, and the 22 names that start don’t contribute to the headlines.
A few days on and sometimes the players not named in the 18 man squad can produce more talking points. There can be no doubt that there have been significant changes at Brighton and Hove Albion in the last six months and every story is different for each player but it has been a strange period for Iranian Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
His only appearance has been in the League Cup tie at Bristol Rovers. It may not be a total surprise. Despite a huge fee the winger failed to register a goal or an assist last season.
But why hasn't he featured at all under Graham Potter? Has the big price tag had an effect in him? Does he have a future at the club? Is he set for a loan in January?
We debated all these questions this week on the Albion Unlimited podcast. Of course we can’t be sure of the answers and we don’t have a crystal ball. He may not suit the system, he may have injury troubles, he may not have settled.
Whatever the reasons, whatever the future, AJ has always come across as thoughtful, patient, sincere and considerate of others. He may not have made an impact thus far, and he may move on from Sussex, but we have seen glimpses of his talent.
The Premier League is an unforgiving place and isn’t for everyone but everyone deserves to be treated with respect. So often I see players being ravaged on social media for performances but we must remember everyone is human, everyone is a human being.
Jahanbakhsh may yet get his chance to impress but if he doesn’t, I wish him all the best.
Johnny Cantor is a commentator for BBC Sussex
@johnnycburger | @BBCSussexSport | www.bbc/sussex