Following his arrival at Oakwell, Aapo Halme spoke of his delight at becoming Barnsley’s latest summer signing of a busy transfer window.
The towering Finnish centre-back joined the Reds from Leeds United and is looking forward to continuing his development under Daniel Stendel.
“I’m really pleased,” insisted Halme. “When I first heard I was really excited and I want to help the club to reach their goals, improve as a player and get used to first team football. I want to get some games under my belt and help the team as much as possible.
“I think this is the style of football that I like to play – I’ve played my whole career like this, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s quite similar to what I played at Leeds – high intensity and lots of running.
“I think it’s a really nice club with good facilities; everything seems to be really nice so I’m really looking forward to getting started.”
Halme has represented his country at youth level from U16 to U21 and will be hoping to catch the eye of national team coach Markku Kanerva as he embarks upon his first campaign with Barnsley.
At 6’5, he stands an inch taller than Finland legend Sami Hyypiä – a player who the 21-year-old aspires to be like.
“Obviously, he’s a huge, huge player and someday I want to be like him,” continued Halme. “It’s always a huge honour to play for your national team and I hope to play for the first team someday and I think this move can help me.”
An imposing presence at the back, the former HJK Helsinki defender will no doubt win his fair share of aerial battles, but he is also comfortable in possession – a quality that Stendel looks for in his players in order to build attacks.
Halme also has Sky Bet Championship experience, having featured for Leeds where he was never on the losing side in the league. He also found the net as Marcelo Bielsa’s side exited the Emirates FA Cup against Queens Park Rangers.
“I think it’s a physical league, but it’s not just long balls and heading – there’s a lot of skilful players and it’s intense, so it’s a very good league,” said the Reds’ new defender.