Brighton and Hove Albion sign Finnish keeper

Posted On 06 Jul 2015 at 5:38 pm

Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of Finland international goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa.

The 30-year-old left the Dutch club VVV-Venlo at the end of last season.

Maenpaa was at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre today (Monday 6 July) for his medical and to complete formalities.

He will stay in Sussex this week to start pre-season training before linking up with the first-team early next week when they return from Geneva.

Seagulls boss Chris Hughton said: “We are pleased to welcome Niki to the club.

It’s no secret that I wanted another goalkeeper, alongside David Stockdale and Casper Ankergren, who will compete hard for that solitary first-team slot.

“Like all our other recruits this summer, Niki’s got plenty of top-flight experience, including games at international level.

“Having already played in France and Holland, he is now keen to prove himself in English football.”

Maenpaa began his career with the French side RC Lens in 2003, playing in their reserve side, before a move to the Dutch second division club FC Den Bosch in 2006. He made 67 league appearances in three seasons there.

He spent two years with top-flight side Willem II before a move to AZ Alkmaar in 2011 followed by a switch to VVV-Venlo in 2012.

Maenpaa spent three seasons with VVV-Venlo, one in the top division and two in the second division.

He won the club’s Player of the Season award and helped the team to a fifth-place finish in 2013-14.

Maenpaa is the current first-choice Finnish national goalkeeper. He has won 24 full caps for his country, plus 13 at under-21, and 5 more at under-19 level.

Hughton had previously stated his intention to bring in another experienced goalkeeper alongside Stockdale and Ankergren in the summer transfer window.

“Niki’s arrival allows us to loan out Christian Walton for regular first-team action, which is a vital next step in his development.

“We know from last season that Christian is very capable but he now needs more games.

“Christian needs to play regular senior football to get to the stage where he can realistically challenge for the goalkeeper’s position in our first-team.

“I have no doubt he will do that here in the not-too-distant future.”

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