2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) runners-up ATK Mohun Bagan announced on Thursday that they have signed EURO 2020 player Joni Kauko on a two-year contract. The Finnish midfielder has 29 international appearances to his name.
Although Finland crashed out of EURO 2020 after finishing third in their group, Kauko made three substitute appearances against Denmark, Russia, and Belgium. The 30-year-old's signing means Javi Hernandez will leave the club as the Spaniard plays in the same position as the Finn.
Kauko is a regular member of the Finland international squad having represented the Nordic country from his U-16 days. However, he has no goals so far on the international stage.
Kauko has prior experience of playing in the Finnish and Danish League as well as the German second division. The 30-year-old will be a great addition to ATK Mohun Bagan's AFC Cup campaign, which begins on August 18.
The Mariners are paired with Maldives' Maziya SC and Bangladesh's Basundhara Kings. The winner of the play-off match between ISL's Bengaluru FC and Maldives' Eagles FC will also join the trio in the group stages.
What's next for ATK Mohun Bagan in the upcoming ISL season?
ATK Mohun Bagan narrowly missed out on lifting the ISL trophy last season as they lost to Mumbai City FC 1-2 in the final. David Williams' goal was not enough as Tiri's own goal and Bipin Singh's strike late in the game sealed their fate.
As Mumbai City FC won both the League Winners' Shield and ISL Final, ATK Mohun Bagan will get the opportunity to play in the 2022 AFC Cup Qualifies.
The next season of ISL will see only four foreign players on the field. Hence, clubs are willing to spend more to bring quality foreign players into their ranks. And, ATK Mohun Bagan have played their cards right by bringing onboard Joni Kauko.