Whether Sakari Tukiainen will be another Finn crossing the Gulf to play in neighbouring Estonia, it will be clear in next days as Flora’s coach, Norbert Hurt, will have time to assess him on the pitch during the first training of season preparation.
Meanwhile we try to understand what kind of player is the 23-year-old striker whose career path could have followed Markkanen’s own after he scored a brace in a test match with AIK. Quite curiously, Aivar Pohlak himself (FC Flora president) told some time ago they were about to bring Markkanen to Tallinn.
Rumori spoke to Janne Wikman, Atlantis FC spokeperson, about Tukiainen.
‘He was good at AIK but i believe it is a too big step for him at the moment,' debuted Wikman in explaining why, notwithstanding the great impression, he didn’t move to Stockholm.
He actually clarifies AIK’s position regarding the player: ‘AIK hasn’t actually given any answer about him, positive or negative,’ confessed Wikman who added that they are actually still waiting for the Swedes’ answer.
Meanwhile, Sakari is already in Tallinn to attend his first training today, 15th of December.
How Atlantis FC ‘found’ the all-time topscorer in a Kakkonen season, it is soon clarified by Wikman himself. ‘We found Sakari last year when he was playing in Kutosen (7th tier -edit) and he looked great. I wanted to take him to the second team but our head coach Alan Arruda was totally aganist it. He took him to the first team and he played in all 27 games, full 90 minutes without being subbed.’
A great move by former Nõmme Kalju’s player, Alan Arruda, who might now be giving (unwilling) a ‘help’ to the city rivals of Flora.
Sakari’s goal tally was impressive, reminds Janne: ‘there were only few games when he didn’t score. He was super, in some games he scored hattricks and in one game even 4 goals.’ Arruda was indeed after trying to help Kalju: ‘Alan wanted to offer him to his former clubs, Nõmme Kalju first and Ferencvaros (Hungary –edit). What happened with that I don’t know because he is back in Brazil and found some really good work there.’ It could have been Arruda’s farewell gift to Kalju: ‘whether he was actually in contact with Kalju or not, I cannot confirm, however he told me that he wanted to do it.’
Tukiainen is not a free agent, since he comes with a price tag.
Notwithstanding his good pedigree and the rapid ascent, Flora are still after carefully assessing the player. Wikman does not give an exact price though. ‘He has a contract with us until October 2016 and his price tag is only a question of negotiation. I think that Estonian league will be interesting for him,’ Wikman added that also England lower leagues, middle Europe and Finnish Veikkausliiga could be an ideal destination for the striker.
How would you describe Sakari? ‘He holds his head cold because he is aware that he didn’t play football for couple of years. I think he needs playing time and good place where to develop.’ When on the pitch, Tukiainen is a die-hard player according to the Atlantis’ spokeperson: ‘he is a big fighter, he has played the last two league games with a broken hand. If I shall describe him in few sentences, they would be: a natural goalscorer, never giving up, training hard, able to stay positive and a team player.’
If he will make a good impression in the first week of trainings, he could already feature at the end-of-year tournament (more info about this event here).
Flora could give continuity to a good tradition of Finnish players.
Jonathan Johansson was the first Finn in Estonian top-flight when he joined Flora in 1997. His transfer to Rangers reportedly earned Flora 500,000 GBP of the time. He later on played also in Premier League (Charlton Athletics).
Juha Hakola made the leap from Flora to Heracles Almelo and then Willem II (Dutch Eredivisie). He's bee plying trade in Cyprus (Aris Limassol) before returning to KuPS where he played last season with Ats Purje. In 2007 he was Premium Liiga Player of the Year.