Fulham boss Roy Hodgson expects Jari Litmanen to play a huge part in the club’s bid for Premier League survival after signing the veteran until the end of the season.
Litmanen, the 36-year-old former Liverpool forward, will renew his relationship with Hodgson, who was in charge of the Finland national team during Euro 2008 qualifying.
‘Although he is not entirely match-fit at the moment, I have no doubt that he will have a big part to play over the coming months and that we shall benefit as a team from his skill and experience,’ said Hodgson on Fulham’s official website.
Litmanen is joined at Craven Cottage by international team-mate Toni Kallio.The 29-year-old defender joined from Swiss side Young Boys and has made 15 appearances for his country. Paul Stalteri also arrived on loan from Tottenham.
However, it is Litmanen’s signing that has caught the imagination. Hodgson added: ‘I don’t think there is a need to explain the qualities that Jari possesses as a player or the obvious reasons for wanting to bring him to Fulham, and I am delighted that he has agreed to join us for the remaining months of the season.’
Litmanen was Hodgson’s captain during Euro 2008 qualifying and the striker has been his nation’s talisman over the past decade, earning 110 caps and scoring 28 international goals. He started his career with Reipas in Finland’s premier division before enjoying great success with Ajax, winning four Dutch titles, three domestic cups and the European Cup. Litmanen went on to represent Barcelona and Liverpool and returned to Ajax before recent spells with Bundesliga side Hansa Rostock and Swedish outfit Malmo.