When Norwich City signed Teemu Pukki last season, it was considered a gamble by most that was going to backfire spectacularly. The striker had previously played in the SPL for Celtic without leaving a mark for the Scottish giants, but Pukki’s determination to prove his critics wrong were certainly felt last season. The Finnish striker scored 29 goals in the Championship last season to earn his side a title-winning campaign, while Pukki himself was awarded as the EFL Player of the Season.
But, ahead of his Premier League bow, could Pukki ever become the best Finnish international to play in the top-flight in England? There is undoubtedly some fierce competition.
The most notable Finn to have ever played in the Premier League led Liverpool as captain to an unprecedented treble that included all domestic cups; including the Europa League. Hyypia played at Anfield for ten seasons and was an integral part of their defence. However, his crowning moment for the club came in the 2005 Champions League final where his relationship with Jamie Carragher ensured that Liverpool got to the final of the competition before winning a thrilling final on penalties against AC Milan following a 3-3 draw after extra time.
The central defender is still fondly remembered by the Kop, and undoubtedly is the best Finnish player to have played his trade in the Premier League.
Forsell fell victim to the change in regime at Chelsea at the beginning of the Roman Abramovich era at the club. His young age meant that he was surplus to requirements, but regardless, he forged out a marvellous career for himself at Birmingham City. After two loan spells in the Midlands, which resulted in 17 goals scored in 36 matches, he was finally signed on a permanent basis in 2005 for a fee of £3 million and despite injuries in his first season, he came back into the Premier League with the club to score nine goals in 30 appearances to keep the club in the division.
The following season ended in the club being relegated, and Forssell decided to move on. He signed for Hannover 86, before enjoying spells at Leeds United in the Championship and a return to his boyhood club HJK before retiring in 2018.
No Finnish player ever played in the Premier League as consistently and as long as Jussi Jaaskelainen. The goalkeeper spent 14 years in the Premier League and played for Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United. He signed for Bolton in 1997 and went on to make 530 appearances for the club over his 15 years with the club. He was a crucial member of their promotion-winning team, before playing an important role in their route to the League Cup final and their qualification for the club’s second-ever appearance in the UEFA Cup.
He signed for West Ham in 2012 following Bolton’s relegation to the Championship, and he quickly became the club’s first-choice goalkeeper. He left the club in 2015 for Wigan Athletic before a final professional season playing for Indian side ATK then retiring in 2017, aged 42.
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