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Minnesota United sign DP forward Teemu Pukki | MLSSoccer.com

Minnesota United sign DP forward Teemu Pukki | MLSSoccer.com


UPDATE (June 27): Minnesota United FC have signed forward Teemu Pukki to a Designated Player contract through June 2025 with a club option through December 2025, the club announced Tuesday.

Finland’s all-time leading scorer joins Minnesota after five seasons with Norwich City in the Premier League and Championship (England’s top two divisions). While at Norwich City, the 33-year-old scored 88 goals and recorded 29 assists in 210 matches.

“I feel as though we have gotten that goalscorer we have been craving ever since Christian Ramirez left. He’s a gold standard, proven goalscorer,” Loons head coach Adrian Heath said in a release. “If you look at his record he’s scored at a high level at every team he’s played for. His goalscoring record in the Premier League, the Championship and the Finnish national team speaks for itself.

“He’s a great professional, what you see is what you get, always a smile on his face, gets his work done and is a great teammate. The fact is, he scores goals and I know that if we continue to create the opportunities we have this season he will no doubt be successful in this league. We are delighted to get him here and get him integrated with the group.”

Pukki fills the Designated Player spot in Minnesota that arose when Luis Amarilla was transferred to Liga MX side Mazatlan earlier this month.

With Pukki potentially featuring alongside forwards Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Sang Bin Jeong, and with No. 10 Emanuel Reynoso pulling the strings, Minnesota’s offense could reach a new level. In 2023, Minnesota have scored just 17 goals in 18 games.

“With Teemu, what we’re doing is we’re adding an incredible guy and an incredible pro, which is something that’s important to us,” Minnesota technical director Mark Watson said in a release. “On the field, it’s pretty simple: He’s an elite goalscorer. I think he’s got a lot more to his game than that. He’s a really good soccer player and he can hold the ball, bring others into play.

“It’s a real credit to the club and our growth in terms of how we go about our business, but also being a club that can attract these types of players. Teemu Pukki was a free agent – he could have gone anywhere – and he had a lot of offers from big clubs in top leagues around the world, and he chose Minnesota.”

Pukki will be eligible for selection when the MLS Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 5.

ORIGINAL (June 10): Finland international striker Teemu Pukki is set to leave Norwich City this summer and his next destination may be Minnesota United FC, according to numerous reports.

The proposed move would give Minnesota a No. 9 to jumpstart their attack and coincide with leading striker Luis Amarilla departing the club this summer for Liga MX side Mazatlan. Amarilla’s exit also opens a Designated Player spot Pukki could occupy.

Minnesota couldn’t formally register Pukki until the league’s Secondary Transfer Window opens July 5, though they could reach agreeable terms before then. Pukki is currently with Finland for Euro 2024 qualifiers, then it’s reported the deal could proceed once the mid-June games are wrapped.

Analysis »#MNUFC has consistently leaned on summer additions to help ailing attack.

💰📈 Adrian Heath has routinely outperformed salary spending with place in standings.

⚽️ Latest on Teemu Pukki signing, another position sought in upcoming window. https://t.co/9XlATWJ5Wc

— Andy Greder (@andygreder) June 8, 2023

Pukki, 33, has spent the last half-decade with The Canaries, contributing 88 goals and 29 assists in 210 games as they’ve seesawed between the Premier League and Championship (England’s top two divisions). He was named the Championship Player of the Season in 2018-19 and often was Norwich’s top attacker as they scrapped to stay in the top flight.

Pukki would be expected to help carry Minnesota’s attack alongside Emanuel Reynoso, who recently returned from suspension and is among the league’s most prolific No. 10s. Pukki is Finland’s all-time leading scorer with 37 goals in 110 international appearances, plus shined for clubs like Schalke 04 (Germany), Bröndby IF (Denmark) and Celtic (Scotland) before joining Norwich.

Minnesota are searching for a boost in the attack, scoring 15 goals in 16 games before Matchday 18 play gets underway. Amarilla and fellow DP striker Ménder García have scored just two goals apiece, while U22 Initiative signings Bongokuhle Hlongwane (4g/1a) and Sang Bin Jeong (1g/0a) are key figures in the final third as well.

Pukki is a longtime international teammate of Minnesota midfielder Robin Lod (out injured). While at Norwich, he played with US international forward Josh Sargent.

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