In the build up to the new season, AC Oulu added former Seinajoen striker Roope Riski for €300,000. Aapo Virtanen has wasted no time in further adding to his ranks with six more additions.
Two new youngsters have arrived in the form of Valentinos Michail
and Miguel Ángel Salazar
. The players were reportedly scouted at Under-21 and Under-20 international games, with Michail representing Cyprus and Salazar turning out for Mexico on the international stage.
Michail's contract at his hometown club of Paphos expired last summer and has been without a club since then. He attracted the attention of Cypriot teams but these clubs never made any official approach for the 18-year-old centre-back.
Salazar was spotted playing alongside his new Oulu teammate Cristian Pina for Mexico's U20 team in various Under 20 internationals before he signed a three-year deal with the Finnish club after his Veracruz contract expired last year.
In a pre-arranged deal from last year, South African midfielder Mpho Ngubane
finally arrived on his €100,000 deal (rising to €190,000 depending on clauses). The youngster has made 7 appearances for his national Under 20s side after graduating from the Mamelodi Sundowns academy three years ago. Ngubane signed a three-year deal at Raatin Stadion, earning €625 per week in Finland.
In the only non-teenage signing so far this season apart from Roope Riski is the arrival of Daniel Granli
. The Norwegian full-back has spent his entire 12 year career at Stabaek in Norway in a remarkable show of loyalty for his hometown club. Over the 12 year period, Granli made an outstanding 215 appearances for the club before he handed in his transfer request this winter, stating that he wanted a new challenge at his age of 29.
The one-time Eliteserien winners listed the player on the transfer market for a fee of just €30,000. In the absence of a back-up right-back at Oulu, Aapo Virtanen snapped up the 29-year-old Stabaek stalwart to play as a back-up option for the main right-back, youngster Tatu Tiihonen.
As two goalkeepers found their way to the permanent exit door at Oulu this winter, Aapo Virtanen went out to find a new young goalkeeper and scoured all over Europe to find one. With his release clause at Partizan FK set to just €725,000, Oulu activated Nikola Boskovic's
clause in his professional contract and agreed a three-year deal with the 17-year-old goalkeeper.
With pundits in his home country of Serbia rating him very highly after his time in Partizan's reserves - keeping four out of four clean sheets last season - he could be set to be a bargain or a frugal failure in Finland.
However, the latest transfer is not only the most expensive, but it is the transfer that has got Oulu fans extremely excited as Slavia Praha's Rostislav Hora
joins the Champions League side for a fee of €1.9million. At just 16 years old, this seems to be a huge punt on such a young player. However, Hora has already represented Czechia's Under 21s five times, scoring one goal as a central midfielder.
Not only has Hora represented his country's youth sides, but at club level, the midfielder has already made his Champions League debut by appearing in both legs of Slavia Praha's first qualifying round tie with Shamrock Rovers after only just turning 16 years old. It will certainly be interesting to see if Virtanen places the same amount of trust on such young shoulders.
Moving out of the club, Oulu have sold €8million-worth of talent this winter already. The most significant sale is the departure of young goalkeeper Michel Cuenot
who signed just last season, but after 14 clean sheets in 19 matches for Oulu's reserve team, SL Benfica have snapped up the 18-year-old Frenchman for a huge €6.5million after signing only on a free transfer for Oulu from FC Lyon last season. With Argentinian goalkeepers Augusto Batalla and Agustín Marchesín ahead of Cuenot in the Benfica line-up, it will be interesting to see how much game time he will receive in the coming years.
The second most expensive sale was another goalkeeper in the form of Olexiy Kolesnyk
who has signed for Everton for a fee of €1.1million. The 20-year-old Portuguese shot-stopper appeared 20 times in all competitions last season for Oulu following his January 2022 arrival from Vitória de Guimaraes for €600K. With no other clear competitor at Goodison Park, it seems that Kolesnyk will become Everton's main back-up keeper after Jordan Pickford.
In response to the signature of Roope Riski by Oulu a few weeks ago, Oulu had to offset some of the wages that would be ploughed into Riski's reported €12,000 per week two-year deal. Noah Nurmi
was the highest-paid player before Riski, earning €6,500 per week. Oulu finally managed to get rid of the defender for a fee of €350,000 as he heads to Denmark to play for AC Horsens.
Daniel Kamy Ntankeu
has also left Oulu following a forgettable spell at the club. After his Team of the Season appearance in 2021 for Inter Turku, Ntankeu signed for Oulu. However, he now finds himself heading to Spain for €60,000 after Albacete offered the defender a get-out option.
With regards to departures on loan deals, ten players have left for the season. The most significant is possibly Nicolas Kamga
, who joins Esbjerg for the season after making 60 appearances for Oulu in the past two seasons. After his €1.1million arrival last season, Haris Bergh
is already on his 2nd loan spell as Hammarby take the player for the season. New free transfer signing Valentinos Michail
has also joined IFK Mariehamn.
In other loan deals, Harouna Abou Demba joins Orgryte, Eemeli Hurtig joins KPV Kokkola, Hugo Keto joins Fredrikstad, Yaya Sanogo joins Seinajoen, Gabriel Twumasi joins Inter Turku, Olivier Verdon joins IFK Mariehamn and finally Simen Westly joins Honka Espoo. Mikko Eriksson and Kjeld Sloth have both been released at the end of their contracts.
Cheers man, I really hope he does - I'm paying enough for him!
Indeed, his career has been a bit iffy everywhere he's been. However, his good record in Finland with Turun and Seinajoen really interested me. He does have plenty of work to do, though.