Bayer Leverkusen have brought forward the signing of Sardar Azmoun, with the Iranian international joining from Zenit St. Petersburg on a five-year contract with immediate effect, rather than from summer 2022 as originally agreed.
“[It is] a step from the best club in Russia to one of the best leagues in Europe,” he told the Bundesliga club's website.
“Bayer Leverkusen have a really great squad. I’ve been keeping an eye on the club for a long time and am impressed by the team’s style of play. It’s incredibly exciting for me soon to be able to play in the Bundesliga. And I’m convinced I’ll make the team even better with my footballing ability.”
Capped 60 times by Iran, an impressive 39 goals for his country compliments his selection for the World Cup in 2018 and two Asian Cup squads in 2015 and 2019.
As well as being the youngest Iranian to score in a UEFA Champions League game, he is also the Iranian record-holder for the most goals scored in the competition with six goals.
He has spent his professional career entirely in the Russian top flight with two spells each at Rubin Kazan and Rostov preceeding his transfer to Zenit in 2019.
In St. Petersburg, he has found the net 62 times in 104 appearances across all competitions. He was named Russia’s Footballer of the Year for 2021 and his impressive goal stats have continued into this season, in which he has scored 10 goals in 21 games – including two strikes in the Champions League.
“We’re delighted to have completed this transfer,” said Leverkusen's sporting director Simon Rolfes when the deal was originally confirmed on 22 January.
After a deal was reached with Zenit to sign Azmoun immediately, the 40-year-old added: "We're very happy about the constructive agreement with Zenit and that we can now make use of Sardar's qualities earlier than planned. He'll be an asset for our attack and will significantly improve what is already a very good squad."
Managing director for sport, Rudi Völler added: “He’s very quick, good in the air and has a good sense for space. But he’s not just a goalscorer. Sardar Azmoun also sets up a lot of goals and is an outstanding fit for the Werkself as a player who combines well with others.”
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