‘It’s been probably the best decision in my football career to come here’ - City have been good for flying Finn
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Teemu Pukki is dreaming of a return to top-flight football, after his move to Norwich City proved to be the ‘best decision’ of his career so far.
The Canaries’ star striker has proved a phenomenal free transfer after he decided to end a four-year stint with Danish side Brondby last season, scoring 27 goals to win the Championship Player of the Season award.
Pukki is also firmly on track to win the division’s golden boot, which would make him just the third player in City’s history to finish as a divisional top scorer, following in the footsteps of Ted MacDougall with 23 in the top flight in 1975-76 and Kevin Drinkell with 22 for the second-tier champions in 1984-86.
“I remember watching some Premier League games with my dad when I was young, but I was mostly interested in the Spanish league at that time,” the 29-year-old said.
“So that was kind of my dream when I was a kid, but obviously that’s something we’ve been looking at a lot and hopefully I could play there (the Premier League).
“Of course that’s a dream for the whole team here, and that’s what we’re working for. We know we haven’t won anything yet, so there’s a lot of work, but of course that would be something I’m looking forward to.”
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The 71-cap Finland international did get a small taste of the Spanish top flight as a youngster, having emerged at hometown club Kotka as a teen to earn a move to Sevilla, but only made one La Liga appearance as an 18-year-old.
“That was a huge change for everything,” Pukki said of his two years in Seville. “I was still a small kid you could say, but it was my mum who moved with me for the first year, so that kind of helped me to settle a little bit down, to live alone, so that was a huge help.
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“But obviously it’s a big thing for a really shy Finnish boy to move to the place where you need to learn the language, and stuff like that.”
He returned home to HJK Helsinki and scored 18 goals in 33 games to help win the Finnish title in 2010 and 2011, earning a switch to the German top flight with Schalke, scoring eight goals in 37 Bundesliga games before joining Celtic in 2013.
Nine goals in 38 games for the Glasgow giants helped to win the Scottish Premiership title in 2013-14, with Champions League group stage games against Barcelona, AC Milan and Ajax in the mix for good measure.
Yet it was Denmark Pukki was heading for at the start of 2014-15, beginning a prolific spell of 72 goals in 164 games for Brondby across four seasons which would culminate in lifting the Danish Cup ahead of his exit last year.
That form prompted the chance to join Norwich last summer – and Pukki hasn’t looked back since.
“I think you could say it’s been probably the best decision in my football career to come here,” the lethal striker added. “So I’ve been enjoying it and we just need to work now for the rest of the season.
“I’m really happy. Happy that I made that decision, and now we’re here.”
• For more from Pukki’s recent interview with Sky Bet, see the video above