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Pukki Predecessors: Ranking 8 of the Greatest Nordic Players in Premier League History

Teemu Pukki, baby! Teemu Pukki, woah! Teemu Pukki, baby! Teemu Pukki, woah!

​Bellowing out that linguistically brilliant song is the only fitting way to pay tribute to the Finn, who continues to be the surprise star of the 2019/20 Premier League season. Norwich City supporters adore him – as you’d expect given his superb start to the year – and can regularly be heard singing those wonderful lyrics at Carrow Road.

Pukki has already hit five goals for the ​Canaries in their first campaign back in the big time, with two of those efforts coming against ​Chelsea and ​Liverpool! He’s on his way to becoming a cult hero for all football fans, not just those of Norwich, though the striker wouldn’t be the first Nordic player to achieve such status.

Numerous top talents have emergedfrom the frosty reaches of northern Europe; here, 90min ranks eight of the best to feature in the ​Premier League.

8. John Arne Riise

It was never determined if Riise actually had a left foot, or whether it was in fact a rocket-launcher protruding from his hip. He was a diligent defender, but that’s not what people remember the Norwegian for.

Many long-range piledrivers litter the fullback’s time in England, though one in particular stands out. Mere months into his seven-year Liverpool career, Riise let loose a 30-yard cannon that soared past ​Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez as the Reds earned a famous 3-1 victory.

7. Gylfi Sigurdsson 

Gylfi Sigurdsson

These Nordic fellas seem to have a taste for the spectacular. Sigurdsson is no doubt an expert when it comes to screamers, having scored several Goal of the Season contenders across his time in England.

A venomous effort against ​Leicester City last term showed exactly why ​Everton paid £45m for his services. However, he’s more than just a proficient marksman, possessing a beautiful array of passing and an impressive ability to dictate play.

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic


Had Zlatan played in the Premier League for more than a single full season, he would surely be pushing closer to the top of this list. Nevertheless, performances for the Old Trafford club proved the veteran striker had the necessary qualities to flourish on these shores.

In his only injury-free campaign with United, Ibrahimovic hit 28 goals in all competitions, many of which were eye-catching. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to see more of the great man.

5. Sami Hyypia

Sami Hyypia

An imposing figure in the heart of Liverpool’s defence, Hyypia was the last Finnish footballer to play in the Premier League until Pukki came knocking. 

He was essential to much of the Reds’ success during his decade on Merseyside, dominating aerially and adding steel to the lineup. 318 top-flight games made Hyypia’s a household name in this country, as did two FA Cups, a couple of League Cups and the 2005 ​Champions League.

4. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

The Baby-Faced Assassin may be having a troublesome time in the north-west right now, but he will forever be a legend at Manchester United. Solskjaer could get the Red Devils relegated and they’d still sing his name after he hit the treble-sealing winner versus ​Bayern Munich in 1999.

His exploits in domestic competition were well received, too. The striker is the highest scoring player on this list, his lethal finishing and smart anticipation helping him reach 91 in the league for United.

3. Freddie Ljungberg

Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg celebrates s

If you’re normally included in the starting XI for a team that goes an entire Premier League season undefeated, you’re probably reasonably good at kicking a ball. 

Ljungberg was a key component of ​Arsenal’s Invincibles side of 2003/04, his utility making him a magnificent asset for Arsene Wenger. Whether he be on the wing, in the middle of the park or playing just off the main striker, the Swede had defenders on the back foot and fans out of their seats.

2. Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen

For what he lacks in pace, Eriksen more than makes up for with creativity and vision. Very few players are quite so adept at slicing open opposition defences, with the Dane amassing a total of 60 assists for ​Tottenham Hotspur.

That tally puts him inside the top 20 when it comes to teeing up teammates, a marvellous achievement when you consider that most of those around him on the list spent well over a decade in the league. By comparison, Eriksen is beginning only his seventh year in England.

1. Peter Schmeichel

Champs League SF Peter Schmeichel

A strong argument can be made that Schmeichel is the greatest overseas footballer to feature in the English first division, not just the finest Nordic one.

As a foundation for much of United’s success in the 1990s, the shot-stopper was a giant of the early Premier League era. Very rarely are goalkeepers feared, but Schmeichel was certainly a terrifying prospect for opposing forwards.

Bullying and orchestrating the Red Devils backline made them difficult to break down. The Denmark captain was also a pioneer in terms of his quality with the ball at his feet. And of course, his gravity-defying saves were always appreciated by photographers. 

The fact of the matter is Schmeichel was possibly the most important member of one of the finest teams the world has ever seen

Source : 90min

Source: 90min

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