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26 goals, 17 assists: Arsenal say no to offer of Porto forward

26 goals, 17 assists: Arsenal say no to offer of Porto forward


FC Porto's Iranian forward Mehdi Taremi celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B second leg football match between Club Brugge KV and FC Porto at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges on October 26, 2022. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
FC Porto’s Iranian forward Mehdi Taremi celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B second leg football match between Club Brugge KV and FC Porto at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges on October 26, 2022. (Photo by BRUNO FAHY/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal were offered the chance to buy Mehdi Taremi last January but declined, so a story goes.

That was a decision they will come to regret, claims the site Persian League (linked above) who note that “Only four players have scored more goals in the UEFA Champions League group-stage this season than Taremi; Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Mo Salah and Robert Lewandowski.”

Taremi is indeed enjoying a good season.

He has 11 goals and seven assists in 16 matches, superb stats by anyone’s standards.

LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 12: Mehdi Taremi of FC Porto celebrates after scoring their team's third goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Porto at BayArena on October 12, 2022 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
LEVERKUSEN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 12: Mehdi Taremi of FC Porto celebrates after scoring their team’s third goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League group B match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Porto at BayArena on October 12, 2022 in Leverkusen, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

It’s not clear why he was offered to Arsenal. Perhaps Porto fancied making a quick profit on the man they purchased in 2020 from Rio Ave for just £4.25m.

Perhaps the player was keen on a move to the Premier League before it was too late.

Whatever the reason, Taremi remained with Porto and finished last season with 26 goals and 17 assists in 48 appearances, averaging a goal or assist every 84 minutes.

As a result, he is now valued at around £18m with a contract that runs until 2024.

Arsenal have a very clear policy of buying young players, preferably under 25, so it’s no surprise they turned down the chance to sign the forward, who turned 30 in the summer.

There’s also no denying that the team could have used some of those goals in the second half of the season. They had given Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona as a late Christmas present and Alexandre Lacazette scored just one goal after the January transfer window closed.

Still, there was no guarantee that Taremi would have adapted quickly to the Premier League and the move would have been a gamble.

There is no indication this would have only been a loan, so Arsenal would have also had to offer a contract in the region of three years to a player with only two-and-a-half years experience in the Portuguese league, who would be 33 when it ended.

Taremi played in the Iranian league for the bulk of his career before signing for Al-Gharafa SC in Qatar. He stayed there for 18 months before a free transfer to Rio Ave.

Looking through top opponents Taremi has faced in the Champions League with Porto, it’s a mixed bag.

He has scored against Juventus (with an assist), Lazio (with two assists), Liverpool and Chelsea in six games, but drew a blank against Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Marseille, Lyon, and AC Milan across nine games, with just one assist to show for his efforts.

Perhaps Arsenal will regret their decision.

More likely, however, is that they will never think of it again.



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