Samuel makes Iran move

Former Bolton defender signs short-term deal with Esteghlal

Jlloyd Samuel: Has signed five-month deal with Iranian side Esteghlal

Jlloyd Samuel has made a shock move to Iranian side Esteghlal, signing a five-month deal.

The defender had been a free agent after leaving Bolton and failing to impress on trials with Leeds United and West Ham.

The 30-year-old has not played in a competitive game since Cardiff's 3-0 defeat by Reading in the Championship play-off semi-final second leg.

Speaking to Sky Sports News HD, Samuel explained how the surprise move came about: "It was through a friend who had the contact, I had a look at it and it seemed to add up for myself.

"Obviously it's a new challenge, something out of the ordinary but I'm willing to take that chance.

"They are one of the biggest clubs in Iran, they have 100,000 people watching their derby games and the fans here are unbelievable really."

Familiar Face

He will be reunited with former Bolton team-mate Andranik Teymourian who joined Esteghlal in July.

And Samuel says the midfielder has told him a lot about football in Iran.

"When I was at Bolton Andranik talked about it quite a bit and he's playing here now but he's injured at the minute," said Samuel.

Having had a loan spell last season with Cardiff and trials with Leeds and West Ham there was still interest in Samuel from clubs in England, but the lure of the Asian Champions League proved to be a major draw.

He added: "I did have options to stay in England, and I had offers from quite a few teams abroad but for me this is a new challenge and a chance to enter the Asian market.

"This team plays in the Champions League here."