FINLAND NATIONAL TEAM MIDFIELDER Joni Kauko has joined ATK Mohun Bagan FC on a two year deal.
The 30 year old was a part of the Finland squad in the still ongoing Euro 2020, making appearances in all 3 of Finland's group stage games coming off the bench late in the second half. His move to Mohun Bagan came a day after Finland were officially eliminated from the competition.
Kauko has earned 28 caps at the senior national team and played in various major leagues in Europe. After starting his career at Finland's third tier league in Sinimustat, he joined top flight club Inter Turku with whom he would spend 5 seasons. After a season at FC Lahti, he would move to Germany, playing for FSV Frankfurt at the second tier of Bundesliga. He would later play for German third tier side Cottbus, followed by 3 seasons spent at Randers FC and Esbjerg, two top flight clubs from Denmark.
This signing has turned heads among football fans in the country, and it's being seen as Mohun Bagan's answer to their arch rivals East Bengal who had caused a sensation signing Costa Rican defender Jhonny Acosta right after he played in the FIFA World Cup 2018.
After finishing second in the league in their debut season at ISL, Mohun Bagan football department's management have gone back to the drawing board strengthening the side ahead of their AFC Cup 2021 campaign, which they qualified for thanks to their championship triumph in I-League 2019-20. The group stage matches are expected to take place in August with Kolkata being among the rumoured venues, with the games likely to take place behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The club will only be able to field 4 foreign players as part of their squad in AFC Cup, and Kauko appears to be a guaranteed a place as a major star signing. Along with him and Roy Krishna, it remains to be seen which of the other foreign players currently at the club will be picked for the club's 5th appearance at the continental tournament.