FINLAND U21 international Jonas Häkkinen is the latest player to join Cork City as Colin Healy looks to finalise his squad ahead of the upcoming SSE Airtricity League Premier Division season.
The defender, who was born in Canada, has spent the last two seasons with FC Haka – who knocked City out of the 2008-09 Europa League – and played 16 times in the 2020 campaign.
Prior to playing with Haka, Häkkinen was with another Finnish side, VPS, moving after they were relegated in 2018. He is delighted to have the opportunity to help City try to achieve an immediate return to the Premier Division after last year’s relegation.
“I’m really pleased to be joining the club, and looking forward to getting started,” he said.
“I spoke to Colin a couple of weeks ago and he explained his plans for the club for me. I’m really excited about the coming season and can’t wait to get into training with my team mates.”
The arrival of Häkkinen – who will wear the number 28 shirt – arrival gives Healy extra options at the back as, while he has amassed a large squad, there are more midfielders and attackers than defenders.
Cian Coleman, who is more comfortable in midfield, played at centre-back in the last two friendlies, against Shamrock Rovers and in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Waterford, while left-back Ronan Hurley has also slotted in in the centre.
George Heaven, who is also new to the club, Rob Slevin and Josh Honohan will be among those whom Häkkinen will be challenging for a starting spot.
Uniss Kargbo and Gordon Walker are likely to be battling for the right-back spot, though Kargbo has also played on the left in pre-season and Steven Beattie came on at right-back against Waterford but is expected to feature further up the field.
Hurley is the first-choice left-back but Slevin can also play there.
The manager is happy to have added another player to his squad.
“We are very pleased to get Jonas in,” he said.
“He has good experience already at a decent level in Finland and, once we became aware he was available, we were keen to bring him to the club. I am confident he will be a good addition to our group and we are looking forward to getting him in to training.”
Meanwhile, City hope to launch the new away kit for 2021 at the beginning of next month.
A new green, white and red home strip was revealed before Christmas but, while a red kit has been worn in pre-season, this set – with no player names on the back of the shirts – is only for friendlies and last year’s red away will be the third option for the coming season.