News Live Scores
Saman Ghoddos

The French Connection: Saman Ghoddos - The Iranian history-maker

6:00 PM SGT 21/9/18
Saman Ghoddos Iran World Cup 2018
The Iranian is one of a host of foreign imports taking the league by storm after laying his hat in le Championnat - the League of Talents

Regardless of what Saman Ghoddos goes on to achieve at Amiens, he has already created his own slice of history. Not only did he become the first Iran international to play in Ligue 1, he took less than an hour to become the first the first to score as he registered in a thumping 4-1 win over Reims just two days after arriving at the club.

It was a fitting climax to what had been a frantic summer for the 25-year-old Sweden-born player. 

He had a deal with Rennes apparently agreed only for it to fall through due to a legal wrangle with Huesca, who claimed they had already tied the player down, but eventually he was sold by Ostersunds to Amiens for a fee in the region of €3.8 million, plus a sell-on clause that could be worth up to 25% of his value.

In leaving Sweden, for whom he played in two international friendlies and even scored, he became the third most expensive footballer to depart the league, trailing only Alexander Isak and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Of course, he had caught the eye well before then, notably impressing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger during a Europa League tie at the start of the year. Speaking after the Swedes had stunned the Gunners 2-1 at the Emirates, with the attacker laying on both goals, he said: “Ghoddos is a marvellous player. Technically and tactically, I was impressed by him.”

The 25-year-old, who featured in all three of Iran’s World Cup 2018 matches as a substitute, represented a big investment for Amiens, a relatively small club with a budget to match. Nevertheless, they tied him down to a five-year deal in the face of big offers from China and reported interest from Manchester City, who had sent scouts to watch him during the summer.

“We had bids from bigger clubs, but this is the best step for Saman’s career,” agent Nenad Lukic told Expressen. “We had bids from a total of four clubs wiling to pay big money, but we thought this would be the best step for him.”

Certainly, he has arrived at the Ligue 1 side with a good deal of fanfare, their most expensive ever signing and a player expected to fill the boots of Gael Kakuta, who excelled at Stade de la Licorne last season.

Kakuta had spent a couple of years in the wilderness after departing Chelsea before his career was reborn in France’s north, and it is this reputation as a strong launchpad where players can focus on their careers that Ghoddos will be seeking to build on over the duration of his stay. 

And his attitude and approach to the game would seem to ensure that he will fit into a tight-knit squad that has based its unlikely success over the past couple of seasons on its unity.

“Firstly, he’s a player who has a collective mindset and that’s what matters to be most,” head coach Christophe Pelissier explained. “He scores goals but also chips in with assists and is able to play in several different roles. That’s something we wanted at the club.”

Barely 48 hours later, the move had already started to pay off as Ghoddos made an express start to life in France.

“It wasn’t a gamble,” Pelissier said after the new arrival had found the net having been thrown straight into the starting XI. “I wanted to give the team a little dynamism.”

Ghoddos may still be adjusting to life in France, but he has returned two goals in three games, with a textbook free kick last weekend against Lille highlighting his technical qualities.

All the signs are that this is a move that will work out well for everyone.< />