Deal done! As anticipated by Rumori on Wednesday, Henri Anier, 24-year-old Estonian international, has joined Scottish top-flight club Dundee United.
The deal is for 2,5 years. Dundee United's coach, Jackie McNamara, is hoping to field Henri already tomorrow against Inverness (17:00 EET).
After the deal was made official, we reached Henri’s agent, Harri Ojamaa. Brother to Henrik, Motherwell’s striker on loan from Legia, Harri takes care of Henri’s interest in the name of and behalf of Golden Star Management.
Harri is very glad for the move as it will help Anier getting more playing time than he had at FC Erzgebirge Aue. The benefits for the national team will be consequential ‘Henri is passionate about football and wants to play every week. He had to move on,’ cut it short the agent ‘this is how football works. The time in Germany has made Henri a stronger footballer mentally and has given him good experience for the future.’
Back in December, we disclosed the difficult situation at Aue for Anier.
How did things go? We asked Harri to explain. ‘Henri had a very good relationship with former head coach Falko Götz and I am certain he would have been his number 1 striker as Götz was the one who originally wanted to get Henri from Motherwell at any cost.’ However, an annoying injury and Götz sacking changed the situation. ‘This is part of football and you never know what happens regarding coaches,’ acknowledged the former footballer who retired earlier due to a back injury.
However, ‘Henri has been very professional all the way with Aue and he worked very hard to convince the new head coach that he is the best striker at the club and he should have been given a chance, but the manager had already made up his mind.’ Hence the decision to move on.
Some fans have already been mumbling a weak attitude by Anier. Harri Ojamaa has a different opinion about that. ‘Some people will say that Henri took the easy way out and that he should have stayed and fought for his place,’ answered the older Ojamaa to the criticism ‘ however, Henri already did all that and never complained, but the situation never changed.’
On to the next challenge, but before, we cannot help thinking he will return to Scotland as an opponent for a club (Motherwell) where he spent great time and had a prolific stint (9 goals in 33 appearances as ‘number 10’ behind the main striker). ‘It will certainly be an interesting experience for Henri to play against Motherwell now,’ explained Harri.
Before going with the Dundee option, there were any talks/ideas of approaching the Steelers to make him return to Fir Park?
‘Motherwell always play with a tall target man and as we know Henri is at his best when playing as forward not in number 10 position, so we thought at this moment Motherwell would not be the right option for Henri's progress. I am not saying Henri can't play as second striker, because he did that very succesfully at Motherwell but we think Henri can show his full potential when playing up front (the same position he occupies in the national team –edit).’
Dundee United have an excellent table as they are fighting for the second place and could be in for the title any time. Has Henri already talked with the manager?
‘Yes, Henri has spoken with the manager. Jackie McNamara really wants Henri to come in and Henri really liked everything the manager had to say.’
Looking at Dundee United's formation, McNamara fields a 4-2-3-1 (sometimes 4-1-4-1), a similar set-up as the Estonian national team. Henri's main competitor will be be Nadir Ciftci, Turkish striker who has scored 9 goals in 20 appearances (team's top-scorer). Would Henri be ready to play in the wing if necessary?
‘If the manager says Henri has to play as a winger, then Henri is the type of person who doesn't complain and does exactly what the manager and the team needs from him. Having said that, I am quite certain Henri will be used as a striker at Dundee United, because his best qualities shine through when he plays as a forward. Henri's pace and movement combined with his strength and unbelievable finishing skills are exactly what Dundee United need, so I think this is a really good match.
What message would you send to the fans at Dundee United?
'Dundee United fans should be very excited that Henri Anier will be playing for their club, because Henri gives his all every single time and will score if given a chance.’
For Estonian fans instead, Switzerland is just 2 months and a half away. Enough time for Henri Anier to get games under his belt in his favorite position and help Magnus Pehrsson to keep performing in the European qualifiers against a tough opponent.