New Brighton & Hove Albion winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh admitted that after five seasons playing in Holland, it was the right time for the Iranian to move to the Premier League and test himself at a higher level.
Jahanbakhsh finished the 2017/18 campaign as Eredivisie’s top goalscorer with 21 goals, but the Iranian highlighted his ambition to continue his progress and compete amongst some of the best players in Europe.
He said, “My main goal last season was to have a good season and move to another level with better competition.
“I worked hard for it and had a big ambition to achieve my goal. It happened for me and thankfully I became the top goalscorer of the competition.
“I performed well and tried to help my team. It was an amazing season for me, from a team and personal perspective.
“But at the end of the season, it was time for me to leave. The fans at Alkmaar were amazing, but it was time for me to move to another level.
“It’s a really good step forward for me, I still have a lot to learn and this is the right competition for me to be in.”
Although the 24-year-old enjoyed a lot of success in front of goal last season, he insisted that providing assists for his team-mates is equally important and the team’s success always has to come first.
“Mostly I play as a winger, I’m fast and always like to give assists. I like to score goals, but my main goal halfway through last season was to be the best assist giver.
“After that I managed to score goals as well, so I put more behind it and ended up becoming the top goalscorer of the competition.
“I like to enjoy the games and that’s the most important thing for me. It doesn’t matter if I score or give an assist - as long as we win the games, that gives me a lot of enjoyment.
The Iranian returned from this summer’s FIFA World Cup having played three games against Morocco, Spain and Portugal - and Jahanbakhsh reflected on his experiences from the previous two tournaments in Brazil and Russia.
“The first time I was just 19 - it was a great experience and another level for me. Inside football and outside I tried to learn a lot.
“I had opportunities to play in all three games, but only 10 or 15 minutes. But this World Cup was different, it was four years later and I was more of a complete, experienced player.
“I started games and learned a lot. We played against really good teams with good players. That gave me the opportunity to show myself and learn more from better players in the world.
“I enjoyed it with my team-mates and the reaction we got from Iran showed that we did a good job in Russia and performed well.
“It was a great stage for me to enjoy it and show my quality. Hopefully the next World Cup will also be an opportunity for me to go.”
Albion fans can watch Alireza Jahanbakhsh's full exclusive interview above on Seagulls TV - supporters can sign up to the service by clicking here.