The midfielder was a part of the Finland team which participated in the UEFA Euro 2020.

Indian Super League (ISL) giants ATK Mohun Bagan have already announced the signing of Joni Kauko on a two-year deal ahead of the upcoming season. The midfielder was part of the Finland squad which participated in the UEFA Euro 2020. His most recent appearance for the Finns was when he came on as a substitute against Belgium in his side’s final Group B game, playing against the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.

It is a statement signing from the Mariners who will look to challenge Mumbai City FC for the title in the forthcoming season. The Kolkata-based outfit finished at the second place in the league phase last season, before being defeated by Mumbai City FC in the final. 

Joni Kauko is expected to be an upgrade to the ATK Mohun Bagan midfield, which already boasts of former Motherwell captain Carl McHugh. Here is a brief look at him and what he’ll bring to the table in the upcoming season.

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The 30-year-old seems to prefer the role of a box-to-box midfielder

Joni Kauko is a central-midfielder who can play as a deep lying playmaker or also advance the ball with his dribbling capabilities. However, he prefers to play in a box-to-box role and often contributes in the attacking third.

The 30-year-old is over 6 feet tall and has a commanding physical presence. He can use that physicality to win midfield duels and break attacking moves in the process. 

Kauko is offers decent speed and can cover a lot of distance over the course of a game, courtesy to his peak fitness. He is right-footed and loves to play forward passes in addition to moving the ball sideways into the channels.

National team performance

Joni Kauko has the role of adding depth to the squad and mostly comes on as a substitute for the Finland national team. His most recent appearance for Finland was against Belgium in the UEFA Euro 2020. He played 20 minutes against them, registering am 83% passing accuracy and 100% long balls completion rate.

He also won 50% of his ground duels and won two fouls, meaning he can shield the ball well and also get out of tricky situations.

The 30-year-old has over 25 caps for the national team and is expected to add more in the future. However, he has never scored an international goal. Kauko has been a part of the Finnish side in international friendlies, UEFA Nations League and UEFA European Qualifiers – and most recently, the UEFA Euro 2020. 

Kauko made five appearances (two starts) during the qualifiers for the ongoing Euro 2020 championships. Finland finished second to Italy in the Group J, securing qualification in the finals. The midfielder has also played 23 times for the Finland U-21 team in the past as well.

Club performance  

Kauko notched eight goals and two assists for Esbjerg in the 2020-21 season

Joni Kauko recently played for Esbjerg fB in the second-tier of Danish league system, finishing third in the standings during the 2020-21 season. He made 26 appearances across the previous season, scoring eight goals and registering two assists. 

Kauko has prior experience of playing for FC Lahti in Finland, FSV Frankfurt in Germany and Randers FC in Denmark. Furthermore, he has most prominently featured for Finnish club FC Inter Turku, representing them in 121 games, scoring 13 and assisting five in the process. 

Accolades

Joni Kauko has won four trophies over the course of his career. He lifted three trophies during his stint with FC Inter Turku when the club won the Veikkausliiga and Finnish League Cup in 2008 and the Finnish Cup in 2009.

He won the Finnish League Cup once again with FC Lahti in 2013. The midfielder will look to add more silverware to his record when he slips in the colors of ATK Mohun Bagan in the upcoming season.

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