Showing posts with label transfers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transfers. Show all posts

Monday, June 19, 2017

Top five - Huuhkajat needing a transfer

Another guest post from Mark of FC Suomi - this time looking at the five Finland players in need of a transfer... Five players at various stages of their careers.

Tero Mäntylä

By the end of 2014, Tero's stock as a ball playing centre-back was on the rise and with the number of games under his belt increasing both domestically and in European competition, the then-22 year old looked like in Ludogorets and the Bulgarian top flight, he'd managed to take the road less travelled to the big time. As qualification to the Champions League became more likely, however billionaire owner Kiril Domuschiev decided to throw money into the first team. After playing his part in the qualifiers to get them to football's top table, Tero found himself at the back of the Ludogorets queue. With game time looking scarce, Tero made a bold move to mutually cancel his contract, packing his six winners medals (two leagues, two cups, two supercups) and heading north to Aalesunds. The 2015 season started well enough for Tero, playing behind then-captain Sakari Mattila; though Aalesund with a lack of firepower struggled in the league. Harald Aabrekk was sacked, Trond Fredriksen came in and Tero's role slowly diminished. and in 2017 is yet to make an appearance for the Tangoshirts. At his best, Tero was seen as an understudy to Niklas Moisander, composed and a good reader of the game who relies more on wits than strength. The promising youngster is now 26 and may be well served with a return home, to (for example) a former champion looking for composure and calm after a disruptive start to the campaign.

Mehmet Hetemaj

This may be tough for SJK fans to hear, but Mehmet Hetemaj is too good for the Veikkausliiga. Through the highs of Simo's transformative reign and the pain of the Boström experiment, Mehmet has been a constant throughout. Mehmet often provided the extra quality needed (see the Finnish Cup Final last year, and semi-final this year) to drive the team forward. His three years in Seinäjoki have taken him to the ripe old age of 29 meaning it may be unlikely there's still one big move left in him, but a good showing in European competition could be all he needs.  

Thomas Lam

Mark Warburton is a fighter. He was installed at Nottingham Forest to avoid yet another crisis, so he rallied the troops around simple, direct tactics and the kind of tackling that wouldn't be unusual outside of a nightclub at four in the morning. While it's true Thomas Lam may need to toughen up his edges, their styles in play and approach to the game may be too broad to bridge. Warburton and his assistant David Weir have no time for "luxury players", yet seem to define such players by the thickness of their accent and are no strangers to falling out with people. Throw in the inevitable chaos and confusion that is the once mighty Nottingham Forest, and you've got one of the intelligent prospects of Finnish football potentially being taught the art of the concealed Glasgow kiss, the cheeky nut-grab or the hoof. With many admirers still back in Holland and a host of Championship managers also aware of his poise and calm, it may be best for all concerned to simply agree to disagree.

Tim Väyrynen

The Veikkausliiga player of the year in 2013 left Finland with high hopes, three cup winners medals and a burgeoning international career. Since then he's had a series of impressive false starts, despite scoring on his Borussia Dortmund II, Victoria Köln and Dynamo Dresden debuts. Köln in the German regional leagues was the only place he got a run of games, scoring 11 in 15 and lifting the Middle Rhine Regional Cup at the end of the 2015 season. Other postings have seen Tim limited to sub appearances, which for a developing player with his potential was less than ideal. Like others in this list though, he is no longer a young player. Now 24 with roughly around ten appearances a season (mostly off the bench) for the past four seasons, at four different clubs, Tim needs consistency, that means games, which usually brings goals.

Berat Sadik

Two years ago, Sadik was in the prime of his career, banging goals in for a resurgent FC Thun and causing Mixu Paatelainen problems by carrying his scoring form to the national team with a goal against Northern Ireland. With plaudits from every corner, European competition beckoning and Mixu on his way out; the summer of 2015 looked decidedly rosy. Football is however complex, a mistimed tackle (in Finland's win over Greece) and misguided transfer to newly promoted Krylya Sovetov in the Russian Premier League combined to give Berat just 17 appearances in the last two years, only four of them starts and grabbing no goals. This turn of events is made all the more galling considering Krylya simply don't play with wingers or to a target man, like Berat, they were relegated last season. Still only 30 and with rumours that he is to fill an Alfredo Morelos shaped hole at HJK, Berat is still a powerful target man who has shown that a regular run of games ends up with goals. You just can't help feel that whatever agent took him to the Soviets (literal translation of "Sovetov") should pay back his 15%.

Congratulations must be lauded also on Petteri Forsell (number 1 in the draft of this article), who is clearly too good for the Polish first division and should make a real impact in Krakow next season. 

Many thanks again to Mark for this stellar contribution. You can follow his works on FC Suomi and on the Finnish Football Show podcast.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Henry's transfer preview of Veikkausliiga

Friend of the blog Henry Hakamäki has written a lengthy look at the various transfers made by Veikkausliiga sides this winter. Feel free to debate, correct or moan at Henry on Twitter or in the comments below.


With the Liigacup final on the 19th of March betweem SJK and FC Lahti, we are at a point in the pre-season where Veikkausliiga news is slow. The one thing going on currently, which we are in the midst of, is transfers and new signings. While there’s still more movement of players to be expected, now is a decent time to recap the biggest moves into and out of each Veikkausliiga club so far. I encourage all of you to let me know if you agree or disagree with my choices, which will help me when the time comes for my season predictions.

Several players on the way out for HIFK, highlighted by Youness Rahimi (SJK) and Fredrik Lassas (FC Köln II). The biggest loss is Rahimi, a young player with a lot of potential who already has versatility and good from set pieces. The biggest in-coming name is Juho Mäkelä (VPS), a Veikkausliiga veteran and proven goalscorer.  His record over the years has been prolific and consistent, though he is getting on in years.  If he can keep the goals coming and remain fit all season, this was a tremendous move for HIFK. Also coming in are midfielder Xhevdet Gela (FC Lahti) and promising defender Juho Pirttijoki (unknown transfer from Haka).
Juho Mäkelä

It’s hard to pick just one player for HJK, since they have so many coming in and out. In terms of departures, Erfan Zeneli (Shakhtar Karagandy) with other big names leaving being Gideon Baah (New York Red Bulls), Demba Savage (BK Häcken), Rasmus Schüller (also BK Häcken) and Tapio Heikkila (SJK, then IK Start). HJK are currently swimming in quality defenders. However, attacking players is what they’re short on now and Zeneli will be missed. As for signings, the most important so far is Alfredo Morelos (Independiente Medellín). While Mikael Forssell is making his return to the team, Morelos will be counted on. The team’s best moves, however, were for defensive players to replace Baah and Heikkila. They’ve picked up Ivan Tatomirović (FK Sarajevo), Anthony Annan (Stabaek IF), and Medo.
Ivan Tatomirović

After their impressive season last year, staying in the Veikkausliiga, Ilves have had a quiet transfer window so far. The team stayed up playing with tremendous heart and intensity, but lack players that can really turn a game on its head by themselves. The biggest loss is Antti Mäkijärvi (VfB Oldenburg). While he didn’t spend much time with Ilves, he’s a Finnish U21 international and plays left wing, a position that Ilves has lost multiple players from. They also lost Mohamad Kdouh (Vllaznia Shkodër) and Eminike Mbachu Epeleze. Coming in are Pavle Milosavljević (SJK), Antto Hilska (JJK), and Felipe Aspegren. Milosavljevic is the player that will aid in keeping Ilves in games this year. He’s a tough defender, a proven leader and has the experience of winning the Veikkausliiga title with SJK. Very good pickup for them, but I’m still hoping for some more.
Pavle Milosavljević

Inter Turku
During the season last year, Inter lost two big players in Vahid Hambo (Brighton) and Mika Ojala (VfR Aalen). They also have since lost Vincent Onovo (HJK) and Juuso Hämäläinen (RoPS), but the biggest move of all was Kaan Kairinen (FC Midtjylland), who has been the poster child since he was brought up from Inter’s youth team at the age of 16. Kairinen is a player with excellent technical abilities and reads the game very well for his age. Inter have brought in some big names to replace these players, including Pape Sow, Sebastian Mannström (SV Elversberg) and Henrik Moisander (FC Lahti). The name that I thought would make the biggest impact on the team is Faith Obilor (RoPS). Big, strong and a proven defender in the Veikkausliiga, Obilor and Sow should help the center of the defence and keep most opposition at bay.
Faith Friday Obilor

PS Kemi
Newly promoted Kemi are coming into the Veikkausliiga for the first time after winning the Ykkönen. The squad is full of young players and the team will need to find the balance between using the squad that won their league last year and incorporating new players into that cohesive group. Outgoing players include Daniel Kollar (PK-35) and Miguel Cid (BFC Daugava). Several players including come in - Aliu Djaló (Gaz Metan Medias), Muller (GD Tourizense), Joona Veteli (FF Jaro) and Ryan Gilligan (Umeå FC). Kemi needs to look for another defender though before the season starts.
Zeljko Savic (signed from SJK)

KuPS loses a lot of defensive players this year and the replacements could make or break the season for the team. Outgoing players include Ebrima Sohna (Al-Arabi SC), Toni Markic (Zawisza) and Dani Hatakka (SK Brann). Incoming players for the year include Mika Ääritalo (Lahti), Johannes Kreidl (Hamburg) and Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves FC). Admittedly, I do not know a whole lot about Egwuekwe. What I have seen though is that he’s a strong defender that isn’t afraid to go into challenges. He’ll need to have a good season, partnered with Babacar Diallo in the centre of the defense, because there’s not much defensive depth as it stands.
Mika Ääritalo

FC Lahti
Lahti has been relatively busy in the off season, which has lead to a place in the Liigacup final after a fairly impressive group stage. Petri Pasanen has hung up his boots after a tremendous career and Henri Toivomäki (Sarpsborg 08), Pekka Lagerblom (Jacksonville Armada), Mika Ääritalo (KuPS), and Henrik Moisander (Inter Turku) are a few of the players that have gone. Sesay will be missed particularly, as a player who had manned the left side of the defence, his departure leaves no natural left backs.  Jani Tanska, Kalle Multanen (FC Haka), Tomi Maanoja (KuPS) and Duarte Tammilehto (IFK Mariehamn) all come into the team for this season. Multanen will be the key man as he’s the only established goalscorer on the squad. Drilon Shala is a capable secondary striker, but other than those two, there’s just youth up top for Lahti.
Tomi Maanoja

IFK Mariehamn
The Suomen Cup winners have had a very quiet off-season thus far, at least in terms of players coming in. Going out, however, are three big names that were integral in the team winning the Cup. Midfielder Duarte Tammilehto (Lahti), goalkeeper Otso Virtanen (Hibernian) and midfielder Petteri Forsell (Miedz Legnica) all leave for this season. Forsell was one of the best wingers in Veikkausliiga last year in my opinion, attacking with pace, skill, and good passing to the strikers. Coming in are 16 year old Joel Mattson (Mariehamn U19) and Gabriel Petrovic (Brommapojkarna). Petrovic was a highly regarded central midfielder a couple years ago and played for Mariehamn in 2006, but I’ve not heard what he’s been up to in a several years, it appears as if he’s been languishing in the third division in Sweden for some time, so for both his and Mariehamn’s sake, they need him to resurrect his career in a way.

Gabriel Petrovic

PK-35 Vantaa
The immensely entertaining PK-35 (or is it manager Shefki Kuqi that’s entertaining? I guess a bit of both) join the Veikkausliiga this year after finishing second in the Ykkönen last year and winning the promotion play-off.  The majority of the squad remains the same, with the exceptions of defenders Sakir Redzepi and Biran Jeng, a couple of Kuqis (Albert and Daut) and youngster Daniel Rantanen (free transfer to HIFK), who I think is a promising young player who can distribute the ball well, and hopefully has many, many more years at the top level.  Coming in are Ilari Äijälä (KTP), Lucas Kaufman (Ekenäs), Daniel Kollar (PS Kemi) and Njazi Kuqi. Kollar is a young, promising goalkeeper whom I think the team will enjoy success with, but the pick for highlight coming in was between Äijälä and Kuqi.  I went with Äijälå because he is a great fullback that will help shore up the defence and provide some experience in the back. Kuqi will help bring in the goals, but he’s not going to be quite as leaned on as Äijälä by the team because he’s joined in the attack by Lucas Garcia, Masar Ömer, and the ageless Pablo Couñago, so this team has a multitude of attacking options.
Ilari Äijälä

The Veikkausliiga runners-up have had quite the off-season, with most of last year’s backbone moving elsewhere. Going out are Eero Markkanen (AIK), Mosa Yaghoubi (Spartaks Jurmala), Faith Obilor (Inter Turku), Tomas Hradecky (Bohemians 1905) and Tomer Chencinski (Helsingborgs). Yaghoubi is the one that will be missed the most. He was one of the best young players in Veikkausliiga and really should be called up to the Huuhkajat anytime now. Replacements for these players include Juuso Hämäläinen (Inter Turku), Rob Taylor (JJK) and Ransford Osei. Osei is the player that can make or break this team this season. A solid secondary striker who a couple years ago was on the up and up, even making it to the Eredivisie with Twente, he will be counted on to take some of the scoring burden off of Aleksandr Kokko, last season’s top Veikkausliiga scorer. In all honesty, Kokko not leaving would make him the highlight player of the transfer season if I could do that.
Juuso Hämäläinen

What an off-season for the champions. While a couple of key pieces from the championship team moved on, the team is fully reloaded for the upcoming season and it’s hard to decide what move was the best for them. Heading out from Seinäjoki include Allan Souza (back to Liverpool), Wayne Brown, Akseli Pelvas (Falkenbergs), Pavle Milosavljevic (Ilves) and Cédric Gogoua (Partizan Belgrade). Coming in are players of fabulous quality. Highlighted by Finland international Alexei Eremenko Jr (Jaro), he is joined by players including defender El-Hadji Gana Kane (Ferriolense), young midfielder Matej Hradecky (TPS), Estonian international Tarmo Kink (Levadia), winger Youness Rahimi (HIFK), Finnish international defender Jarkko Hurme (Odds), Roope Riski on a permanent basis (Haugesund), and former Honka defender Abdoulaye Méïté. The team is not short of depth in most positions. I highlight Eremenko as my key, because unlike most of the players listed coming in, how he does this season could vary wildly. If motivated and he regains past form, he could be towards the top of league assist charts. If he remains in the form he has been in for a couple years…Allan would be missed.
Youness Rahimi

After a disappointing 2015 in which they only finished one point ahead of KTP, they also lose their top scorer, Juho Mäkelä (HIFK), who scored 16 of the team’s 36 goals last season. In addition, they also are losing midfielder Tony Björk, holding midfielder Denis Abdulahi and defender Teemu Honkaniemi. Coming into the team this season are Finnish international defender Veli Lampi (HJK), Nikko Boxall (Zweibrücken), Juho Lähde (SJK) and striker Andre Clennon on a permanent basis (Arnett Gardens). Lampi must lead the defence to perform solidly in order to make up for the lack of scoring threats.  There are just not many attacking options as it stands, so that must be something the club must look at.
Veli Lampi

So let me know if there’s something I missed, stupid mistakes in judgement or you disagree with my assessment of what players will be important for each team. I’m always up for differing opinions. Until next time, which I’m hoping will be my predictions for how the league table will look at the end of this Veikkausliiga season, thanks for slogging through this article with me.