Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that 21-year-old Iran international Saeid Ezatolahi is set to make a season-long loan switch to join the Royals’ ranks from FC Rostov – becoming our eighth senior signing of the summer.
The talented midfielder, who started in Iran’s Group B matches against Spain and Portugal earlier this summer, has opted to swap the Russian Premier League for the challenge of the Championship.
Manager Paul Clement said, “I’m very happy we have been able to sign Saeid on loan within 24 hours of this transfer window closing. Saeid is a strong, powerful central midfield player with good technical ability. He has experience playing at the highest level with both the Iranian national team and domestically with his current side FC Rostov and in time spent in Spain with Atlético Madrid. Now, I’m really looking forward to getting to work with him on the training pitch.”
Ezatolahi’s career began in his native Iran as a member of Shahrdari Bandar Anzali FC’s youth set-up, before moving to Malavan. There, he impressed at such a young age that he made his first team debut in October 2012, aged only 16 years and 25 days, in a Persian Gulf Pro League game against Rah Ahan - becoming the Iranian top tier’s youngest ever player in the process!
He was awarded the Young Player of the Year accolade in Iran that same season and a year after making his professional debut, Ezatolahi represented his country in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
In August 2014, the highly-rated midfielder left his homeland to sign for Atlético Madrid and he made a UEFA Youth League debut in March 2015 when Atlético took on Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
That summer, he left Spain to fly into Russia – signing a four-year contract with FC Rostov. He made his debut in a 3–1 victory against Dynamo Moscow.
He became Rostov’s first scorer of a European goal when he netted in a 2016-17 UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round clash against Anderlecht and loan spells at Anzhi Makhachkala and then Amkar Perm have now led to a season-long switch to Reading.
On the international scene, Ezatolahi was called into the Iran national team by manager Carlos Queiroz and promptly became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Iran national team at the age of 19 years and 42 days after scoring in a 3–1 victory against Turkmenistan in November 2015.
The 6’3” midfielder added to his tally of 27 caps by representing his country in familiar surroundings – taking part in the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Now he prepares for a brand new challenge in RG2.
Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said, “Saeid is a very promising young midfielder who, despite only being 21 years of age, already has experience of top flight, European and international football. An opportunity to bring him to Reading on loan for the season was too good to miss, so we look forward to seeing him pull on the blue and white hoops.”
Technical Director Brian Tevreden added, “I am delighted we have been able to further bolster our midfield options before the closure of the loan window tomorrow and, in Saeid Ezatolahi, we believe we are adding a talented midfielder with real potential to our first team group.”
The loan remains subject to the usual ratification by the relevant football authorities and the granting of a work permit and UK visa, however Ezatolahi could join his Royals teammates after the upcoming international break – in which Saeid is expected to represent Iran in a friendly in Uzbekistan.