Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear has handed a third player a trial at the club this week, as he looks to strengthen his squad in the next two weeks.
Jukka Raitala – on trial at Newcastle this week
The much pursued HJK Helsinki left-back Jukka Raitala has arrived at St James’ Park for a week’s trial hoping for a deal by7 the end of thew week, and we suspect he played in today’s trial game against Carlisle United.
The 20 year-old has played 46 times for HJK Helsinki and has played 10 times for the Finland Under-21 side, is two-footed and can play anywhere across the back four, and from what we can tell Jukka looks more than a decent defender.
Jukka Raitala was born in September, 1988, in Kerava, Finland and currently plays for Finnish first division side HJK of Veikkausliiga.
He stands 5’11” tall and he is considered one of the most promising young footballers in Finland, and he is free agent in the summer.
There are various teams interested in the player, including AEK Athens, Ajax and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and his transfer price is thought to be in the region of £500K.
Only last November, West Bromwich Albion invited him for a trial at their club, but the youngster never made the trip and he is extremely keen to guarantee his place in the Finland’s 2009 European Under-21 Championship team.
HJK’s sporting director told the official HJK website today:
“Newcastle is a really high-class club.”
“Jukka played well last season in the league and the Under-21 team gave him his chance.”
“We wish Jukka good luck on behalf of the whole club.”
Raitala now joins Peter Lovenkrands and 18-year-old Hungarian winger Andras Gosztonyi already on trial at Newcastle. So maybe Raitalka is the defender Kinnear is hoping to sign by Friday – we don’t know if that’s true or not.
Maybe this lad’s the next Sami Hyypia. 😀