Rumors and speculations were coming in thick and fast regarding the 2020-21 ISL Runners-up, ATK Mohun Bagan’s newest foreign recruit for the upcoming season as just two days ago, the Mariners posted in their social media handles, that they are scouting players from the ongoing EURO 2020 competition. This made the fans go beserk, as they kept on guessing which Euro 2020 footballer could don their green and maroon jersey. Finally ATKMB has confirmed that they have roped in Finland’s Joni Kauko on a two-year deal.Also Read - ISL: ATK Mohun Bagan Rope in Paul Pogba's Elder Brother Florentin Pogba From French Ligue 2 Club Sochaux
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Kauko has been a Finland International since 2012, having also been the captain of the U-21 side before, during his youth days. He started out his professional club career for Finnish club Inter Turku before spending time in Germany in the second and third tier, for FSV Frankfurt and Energie Cottbus respectively. He spent his last five years in the Danish First Division, plying his trade for Randers and Esbjerg. Last season he was instrumental for Esbjerg, scoring 8 goals in 26 games and helped his side to a 3rd place finish in the league. He has played over 400 games in his career, scoring 50 goals in the process. He played a big role when the Scandinavian country ended France’s 12-match unbeaten streak in 2019, as Finland went onto beat the World Champions by 2-0. He was also a regular member of the team that won League C group 2 in 2018-19 UEFA Nations League. Also Read - Indian Football: Promotion/Relegation to be Introduced From 2022-23 Season Between ISL and I-League Clubs- Report
In the ongoing Euros, the Finnish midfielder featured in all the group matches of Huuhkajat, coming on as a second-half substitute in all the three games against Denmark, Russia and Belgium, playing a total of 57 minutes. Newbies Finland, went off to a flier by clinching a victory in their very first game against hosts Denmark, before losing to Russia and World No. 1 side Belgium in the other two matches.
Kauko’s inclusion will surely add depth to the Mariner’s midfield and his expertise in the very big stage will surely help the Indians in the squad to some great extent. He will also be available for ATKMB’s AFC Cup campaign which is scheduled to take place on August 18 with the other two matches scheduled for August 21 and 24.
The Kolkata giants have already acquired the services of Amrinder Singh, Liston Colaco, Ashutosh Mehta, Deepak Tangri and Bidyananda Singh and will be looking to forward to add a few more to strengthen their squad for the upcoming season.
Written by Debayan Bhattacharyya