After months of transfer speculation, the New York Red Bulls have announced that Norway's Jan Gunnar Solli has joined the team. 29-year-old Solli brings versatility and a wealth of experience to the Red Bull Arena as well as top-class talent on the ball. Throughout his career, Solli has done a job in nearly every position on the field, but prefers playing in the heart of midfield.
NYRB fans can expect the team to muster an all-action midfield in the 2011 MLS season, with Solli linking up with last year’s MVP Joel Lindpere.
After making Solli his top priority over the Christmas break, it’s clear that NYRB head coach Hans Backe has big plans for his fellow Scandinavian.
“I needed a new challenge after playing in Norway for 10 years." -Solli
“Jan can play many different positions on the pitch,: Backe pointed out. "He is what you call an all-round player. He is comfortable at right full-back, wide on the right and also in a central midfield position. I think at the beginning we will try to use him in midfield to get the benefit of his tremendous work ethic."
Backe’s plans will be music to Solli’s ears as the player prepares to kick-off his NYRB career.
“I like to play as a running midfielder, the guy that works really hard to run box-to-box, geting stuck in with the hard work," Solli says. "For me, it’s important to see plenty of the ball during a game and also to open up space on the pitch for my teammates.”
With 40 international appearances and Champions League experience, as well as four Norwegian Premier League title wins, Solli is a player with a winning mentality. NYRB’s latest signing explains why he wanted to bring his skills to the Red Bull Arena:
“I needed a new challenge after playing in Norway for 10 years; I’m ready for something new. When I was told that Hans wanted me, I knew I wanted to make the move. Being able to play on a team with Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and other top players was also a factor.”
The arrival of Solli is a result of hours of persistence from NYRB general manager Erik Soler. There’s now plenty for the Viking Army Supporters’ Club to shout about as Soler welcomes his compatriot to the team.
“Jan is a player I have followed for several years and he will be competing immediately for a place in our starting line-up," says Soler. "He has tremendous versatility and can play in the midfield and in defense. We are excited that he has joined the Red Bulls.”
Back in 2007, during his first season with SK Brann, Solli helped the club to their first Norwegian Premier League title since 1963. Could his ability to bring silverware to fans starved of success be a sign of things to come in Harrison, New Jersey?
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