Prolific Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko has successfully completed a medical at Newcastle Jets, and has subsequently been signed by the club on a two-season Hyundai A-League contract.
Kokko arrived in Newcastle at the weekend after scoring three goals in his last three games with RoPS in Finland’s Veikkausliiga.
The 29-year-old goal-getter received a hero’s farewell when RoPS played host to local rivals PS Kemi in a 5-0 derby triumph last week.
Indeed, RoPS feted Kokko as their best ever player while the club’s fans produced a large banner to show their affection for their former attacker, which simply stated “KIITOS” [Thank You].
Kokko’s shift to the Hyundai A-League will mark the first time that the tall, Russian-born former Finland U21 international has plied his trade abroad, and the Jets can also confirm that Kokko will wear the number nine (9) kit for the club.
Kokko - who has twice finished as the Veikkausliiga’s top goal scorer - scored nine times in 15 Veikkausliiga matches in 2016 before commencing his new adventure in Australia.
“It’s nice to be here,” Kokko said after completing his medical on Monday. “From my first training session, my first game I want to show that I can be good in Australia.”
“My former club [RoPS] and fans are happy for me to have come here to show that I can be a good player abroad.”
“The reception that I got from them last week was amazing. It was a very emotional moment for me because the RoPS fans understand that I wanted to take a new step in my career having achieved a lot personally in Finland.”
“I am a target player who likes to play with the ball on the ground,” Kokko - who has played against fellow Jets recruit Wayne Brown in the Veikkausliiga - said.
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Scott Miller said that he is pleased to have Kokko join the Jets for two seasons, and feels that the Finn will prove to be a valuable addition to his squad.
“We believe that Aleksandr possesses the right technical qualities that we require from our striker,” Miller said.
“Aleksandr has a real desire to be successful here in the Hyundai A-League, so I welcome him and look forward to working with him,” he concluded.
Kokko will join his new teammates for his first training session at Ray Watt Oval at the University of Newcastle today [Tuesday].