Dundalk FC is delighted to announce that Johannes Yli-Kokko has joined the club on loan from Finnish champions HJK Helsinki.

The 21-year-old attacker will wear the number 20 shirt and is in line to make his debut for the club in Friday’s League of Ireland clash with Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

“I only found out about Dundalk’s interest four or five days ago and now I am here, so everything moved quite quickly!” Yli-Kokko told dundalkfc.com after completing his move on Monday.

“Last year was my first with the HJK first team and it was a great experience for me so I think I’ll be a good addition for Dundalk and I will work hard to try and help the team win.

“The game is more physical here in Ireland and the tempo will be higher than in the Veikkausliiga so I’m sure that will only help me develop even more as a player.”

Born in Espoo, which is just 21km from Helsinki, Yli-Kokko moved to HJK in 2015, graduating through the ranks and playing for their reserve team, Club 04.

After being promoted to the first-team squad, he made his Veikkausliiga debut in April 2022 and scored his first goal for HJK three months later against VPS.

Dundalk FC head coach Stephen O’Donnell and new signing Johannes Yli-Kokko. Photo: Ciaran Culligan

He made 17 Veikkausliiga appearances during HJK’s title-winning campaign last year, scoring once and providing four assists. He also made four appearances in Europe, coming on as a substitute in both legs of HJK’s UEFA Champions League second qualifying round defeat to Viktoria Plzeň and their UEFA Europa League third qualifying round win over Maribor.

Yli-Kokko was named on the bench for all six of HJK’s UEFA Europa League Group C games against Roma, Ludogrets and Real Betis and came on for the final 10 minutes in their 3-0 defeat to the Spanish outfit in Seville last November.

“Technically, Johannes is a very good, creative player with good energy. He’ll give us added quality coming off the sides and in the attacking areas of midfield,” said Dundalk FC head coach Stephen O’Donnell.

“He has lots of pedigree and I’m looking forward to working with him. He’s mature for his age and he’s looking forward to getting started. It’s a great opportunity for him to gain experience in a different country which was something he was very eager to do.

“He played 20 odd games for HJK, who qualified for the group stages of the Europa League last season and who’ll be in the Champions League qualifiers this year. They have a big squad so we’re delighted that he became available.”