Johnny Nick *really loves Teemu Pukki. Maybe not as much as he loves SPL, but here’s what’s so good about the Norwich star…
Who is this then?
Teemu Eino Antero Pukki is a 5-foot-11-inch, 32-year-old Finnish striker who is now in his fifth season at Norwich City and once again propelling them towards the top of the table, vying for their third promotion in five seasons, after relegating twice. . Perhaps the Pukki were, unusually, self-evident for both their successes and their failures.
Born in Kotka, a major port in Finland, he started his career in his hometown with Kotkan Työväen Palloilijat, known in KTP, playing over two seasons and scoring three times in 29 matches.
Then came an unusual and unexpected move to La Liga with Seville in 2008. But he played only one match for the club, and was placed in the reserve, Sevilla Atlético, in the second division for 17 matches. He scored three times but since there was unlikely to be any first-team football, he returned to Finland to play for HJK for a season and a half.
Here he began to find his shooting boot, losing 17 in 30 matches, 11 in 18 league matches and five in six European matches.
This inevitably led to the biggest clubs getting on their hind legs and breathing Bucky air. Schalke lost two goals from Pukki in Finland, but hit HJK 6-1 in the second leg of a European match, but Pukki scored the goal and liked the appearance of the man who scored three goals in their net.
In August 2011 he signed a three-year contract with Die Königsblauen. However, even though he’s made 47 appearances in two seasons and so little, he’s only scored eight goals to his name. In what became a recurring topic, getting into the Bundesliga was a step too far.
So he moved to Scotland, signed a four-year contract with Celtic, and mistakenly thought it would be easier to play in it than Germany. He’s not the first to make this mistake and won’t be the last, but in fact, he was too fast and too physical for him, something he later admitted to. “He had the qualities we wanted, but he’d probably say he’s never had the opportunity to show that on a consistent basis,” his boss, Neil Lennon, said at the time.
So despite scoring on his first home and away appearances, he only lasted one season at Parkhead and was loaned to Brondby in August 2014. He was named Superliga Player of the Month for October. Over four seasons, he played 164 matches for the Danish club and scored 72 goals, winning the Danish Cup in 2018. His best year was 2016-17 when he made 29 appearances in 46 matches.
He couldn’t agree to a new contract in 2018, so Norwich City swooped in, if the Canary Islands could swoop in. Now 28, a full international since 2009, on Carrow Road he clicked right away. The championship seemed to be his level, and he started winning the league with 30 goals in 46 games, 29 goals in the league. Everything has finally turned out in the form of Timo.
He was a killer striker that year, the best of his career so far, and there was great anticipation to see if he could do so in the Premier League.
He couldn’t. Norwich fell and Pukki had 11 goals in his name. However, they started next season with enthusiasm, and their top striker scored 26 goals to win the league again. They’re back again, and once again our man has scored 11 Premier League goals and Norwich is back down again.
With football turned, Norwich, after a slow start, racked up six wins in six games and finished second in the tournament, a point adrift of leaders Sheffield United, and Pukki netted two midweek goals. Learn about the new championship season, like the old championship season.
There is just something great about being a great second-tier striker. At this level, you’re still in great contact with fans, you’re not aloof financially, and you’re not high on the national level. Unless you’re a fan of Norwich City, you probably don’t really know what Timo looks like. He could walk right next to us on the street and we never knew he was the most involved player in the club’s history, nor the fourth best scorer of all time.
For fans of what we might call old school strikers, Pukki has this side to his game. When I wrote about it in 2019‘He’s not an uber model or a graceful tiger for a guy like a lot these days,’ I said. ‘It’s easy to imagine him playing somehow in the mid-’90s. He just doesn’t look like the modern guy who tends to have the physique of a middle-distance runner. Pukki looks more regular and more impressionable. in the weather. At just under six feet he hasn’t hit a header, all on deck. He’s become a great scorer, converting a high percentage of his shots on goal. His game depends on hard work, he has enough speed to pounce on through balls, and above all something, a quick, quick and efficient one-touch shot often.”
I think I got it there. He’s the kind of player who walks off the field with the smell of sweat, not the smell of Calvin Klein’s latest “Nipple” perfume. However, it was never a batting ram or anything near it. Daniel Farke liked him because he was a smart player, saying, “A technical player with really smart moves. We were talking about how we need to do more running behind and running from depth and he is a player with smart moves.”
He’s a hero for Norwich fans, despite those two seasons in the top flight that haven’t gone well. This is partly due to all the targets, but also because when he arrived he was completely unknown to most of them. And how many players that come to our clubs, you never heard of, turn out to be bullshit and are cultivated after a few matches? Abundance. On the other hand, Teemu turns out to be great and there is a lot of happiness in getting a relatively unknown player to turn in the best years of his career for you.
As for his playing style, when he’s at his best, like many excellent strikers, he hits it early and hard. Often he only takes one touch, two max and is aimed at corners. In fact, I was convinced he would have done well in the first class for these reasons, but it just wasn’t the case. Maybe he wasn’t fast enough on the ground, or in the speed of thought, for that level. Or maybe he had imposter syndrome.
Three great moments
Wee beautiful about his early days…
Triple against Newcastle in those days that were owned by a greedy fat man, not carpet bombers…
A classic goal for the hunters against Spain…
Now 32, the Canary Islands is his eighth team and is in the final year of his £25,000-a-week contract. He has qualified as one of the pioneers in football and it looks quite certain that this will be his last year in East Anglia if they are promoted again, because everyone knows he can’t do it at the top level. However, if they fail, they may grant him a contract extension if his tally is over 20 this season.
There is nothing wrong with being a day laborer, and in Norwich he has finally found a place where he feels comfortable and can really contribute. Not being able to do it in the Premier League at the same level is not a shame at all. Being a second-tier striker is more than almost anyone achieves in football. Perhaps he regrets not having arrived in England sooner. Obviously, playing in the Championship is easier than playing in the Scottish League or the Bundesliga. If Pukki is anything to go by, it’s of a quality comparable to that of Danish first class. Had he played a few more seasons, he would have added to his already staggering 80 league goals in 165 appearances for Norwich.
He remains an important player for his country, having scored 36 goals in 106 international matches. On 12 October 2021, he scored twice in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Kazakhstan to overtake Jari Litmanen as the Finland national team’s all-time leading scorer. When he retires, he will be remembered as one of Finland’s best strikers ever. He broke the club and country records. No bad, Timo, not bad at all.