Joel Pohjanpalo


{Player Profile Updated 02/10/2012}

Date of Birth: - 13.09.1994

Height: - 6 ft

Nationality: - Finnish

Position: - Striker

Current Club: - HJK Helsinki

Estimated Market Value: - £1 million

Player Potential: -

· Shooting = 9/10

· Opening the door - passing = 5/10

· Flair = 6/10

· Heading =9/10

· Pace = 7/10

· Vision = 7/10

· Current Ability = 8/10

· Potential Ability = 10/10

Club Statistics

HJK Helsinki Reserves:

2010/2011 season - 23 matches and 33 goals

HJK Helsinki:

2011/2012 season - 34 matches and 19 goals

International Statistics:

Finland U17:

3 matches and no goals.

Finland U19:

3 matches and no goals.

Finland U21:

5 matches and 1 goal.

General Comments:

First up, if anybody out there speaks Finnish, or is good at languages, how do you say his name, Mr Joel Poh... It's a bit of a tongue twister to say the least. Anyway Joel what's his name has shot up the lists of Liverpool supporters in recent hours due to comments made by the player after a recent match, saying he does not know where he will be playing football next season and that playing for Liverpool would be a dream move, only 7 months after rejecting the club.

Anyway, I think a few of you die hard football fans may have heard of Joel P before today, for one of two reasons. Firstly, he had such crazy scoring record at reserve level, as shown in the stats above that he became known to a lot of people, and was one to watch. Also, on his second appearance for the First Team, and only his first start, he scored a hat trick, and not just any hat trick, the perfect one, with a header, a left footed finish and a right footed finish. But it gets better, as he scored that hat trick in just a tad over 2; 40. And no, that is not a typo, a mistake or you misreading it, he really did do that. Obviously, that catapulted him to a bit of fame. However, since then, he has just attracted more scouts, and publicity, scoring more than a goal every other game for Helsinki in the season. He is really a great player, and at only 18 has a huge future in front of him.

Anyway, Joel as the player. Firstly, he is a great two footed player, and also in the air, as shown by that perfect hat trick. He can finish with either foot, and I still cannot really tell which is his better foot, it is quite incredible! Also, as I was saying, when he is in the air as well he is truly superb. He looks like Michael Ngoo, the Liverpool youngster, but does everything Ngoo does not! He finishes well and is superb in the air; although he is not quite as tall as Ngoo. However, when he is in the air, he goes at the ball with power and purpose, and has scored a lot of his goals from the air. I guess you would say he is Andy Carroll but can head the ball well!! He gets power onto the ball and perfect placement.

He also is quite a special player from outside of the box. You would expect with such good scoring record that most of his goals would be within the 6 yard box - the fox in the box type area and he would just tap the ball in, for example, as Hernandez at Manchester United would do. However, even though some of his goals will just be tap ins, he has scored an awful lot of his kicked goals from outside of the box, and as I say, with both feet as well, which goes to show that he is confident in either. What is also shown when Joel plays is that he has that little bit of kick, that odd deflection taking his shot in. I think that goes to show he is a born striker, as they always seem to get that little bit of luck towards them (unlike Suarez!!)

Anyway, his height is also something that is key in his game, mainly for when he is in the air. Even though he is not that tall at the minute, at 6 foot almost exactly, he is still growing and this height in the box is key for him to get up and win the ball.

The final two things I want to mention are his technique and his versatility. His technique is great, and almost Peter Crouch - esque. Peter Crouch although very tall and very leggy has a very good technique to him which has enabled him to score so many goals throughout his career. And it is similar with Joel; he has a great technique for shooting, for the volley and for when he is in the air.

As I said he is also a versatile player. He can drift out wide and pick up the ball, perhaps swing a cross into a teammate, or just play it short and easy. He can also score from outside the box and run at defenders. This means that he would be perfect for a front 3 system where all of the front players need to be able to rotate, from front left, to front right to the main out and out striker. Therefore, for him to be able to do that so early in his career is boding so well.

But that's it for this lads' advantages, and although you may not think it a lot, he really just does not seem to have many weaknesses to his game at all. From what I have seen his touch looks good, well not poor anyway. He also seems to have a few skills to be able to beat the man, he can turn the defender and he has decent pace to get in behind the defenders. But really, he does not have that many good points to his game because he is a goal poacher, and all they need to be good at is finishing; and Joel is good at finishing and yet more, which goes to show he is a good player...

However, there are weaknesses that I have picked up on in his game. For example, he is a very leggy player. Therefore, it automatically makes you think that he won't have good control of the ball, won't be able to shoot, and because he is so far away from his feet he won't be able to control them!! He just needs to make sure that this legginess is not a problem, but he should be fine, and be able to play similarly to Crouch.

Furthermore, he is only a twig of a boy. He really does need to put some weight and muscles on and bulk up. If he were to come over to the Premiership, he would just be destroyed because he is so small and thin. He would just be bullied off the ball; therefore he needs to get stronger. Also, if you are a striker, you need to be able to hold the ball up well, and to be able to do that you need to be big and strong, and make yourself as big as possible. I just don't think that Joel is big enough or strong enough to be holding up the ball at the moment.

The final point about him really is the league he has been playing in. He has scored a fantastic amount of goals, but it is only Finland. I know you will say he is young and can score more, and Im sure that he can. However, there is a question mark if he could come over to England, Spain or Germany and do the same thing that he does in Finland. If you look at his record for example for the Finnish youth sides, he has no scored that many goals at all, and has not paced for the full international side as of yet. It suggests that he is not quite ready yet and possibly needs to score a few more goals both in the league and for the youth finish sides. However, I am sure he can do that as I have just been raving about how good a finisher he is!! Furthermore, he has not a great deal of experience as of yet. Although he has played a full season in Finland, as I have said it is not the most competitive or hardest of leagues out there, and he has only played a couple of rounds of European qualifying. Therefore, it again adds to the doubt if he can step up.

Summary of Pohjanpalo:

Strengths - Two footed, good in the air, tall, long range shooting, technique and can play out wide.

Weaknesses - Bit leggy, weak league / poor national record and little experience.

What he needs to work on:.

I think that the only thing that he really needs to work on if bulking up. That is the only main thing that he needs to concentrate on improving. However, he does need to continue to work on his all round game, and just try to improve every aspect of it. But mainly, a focus on his strength and size is needed in my opinion.

Players he is similer to:

He is of the same sort of build to your Peter Crouch or Michael Ngoo, but he finishes like the best in the work, your RVPs and you Torres of old.

What league could he reach and why:

If you finish like he does then there is no reason at all why he cannot go all the way to become a very top striker. However, he needs to keep working on his game, all-round, and especially on his size. But he also needs to make sure that he does not become complacent, and needs to make sure that he still trains as hard as ever, still puts in that extra effort, does that one extra shooting session and still works hard for the team.

Where should he continue his development:

Now I think I may cause a bit of controversy here with Liverpool fans, but I don't actually think he should move to the club, if he gets the opportunity right away, for his own sake. We know that the club had the player on trial in March, and they offered him a 3 year deal. However, he rejected the deal because it appears he would not even be guaranteed reserve team football. It now appears again that Liverpool want him but he now seems to really want the move, perhaps sensing Liverpool's striker crisis and thinking he has the chance of playing some games if he starts scoring. However, I actually don't think he should move to Liverpool right now, well not on a permanent deal anyway. I think that he should go to a better club on loan, perhaps Liverpool, or perhaps another top club. If he does that, then he can get the experience of playing and training with top players, and get some games in with the reserves. If it then turns out that he is good enough, the he will easily be able to get a move of his choice next summer on a year in January to a club he so desires. However, if it does not work on, at least then he is not stuck in some reserves team somewhere, and he can just go back to Helsinki, play full games and continue to improve.

However, as a Liverpool fan I want us to sign him up, see how he does in the reserves, and I have the feeling if we did sign him then we would have him in our first team, very quickly.

Transfer Summary:

Although it seems that Liverpool may have a little bit of interest in him, it is so hard to find out. Borussia Monchengladbach have very real interest and have made an offer for the player. Rubin Kazan are also interested as far as we are aware. However, it does look as if he is pushing for a Liverpool move.

This is the video which shows his amazing hat trick;

And this is a good illustration of all of his great goals and assists.