Finally, after a long, gloomy winter, football in Sweden is back as Allsvenskan 2017 premieres this weekend.
It will be a weekend of debuts as newly signed players and recently appointed managers look to hit the ground running in what promises to be yet another fascinating league campaign.
The Football Wagon takes a look at some of the newcomers to Allsvenskan this year…
Sweden to be Frimponged!
Though he is perhaps more famous for bringing the word ‘DENCH’ to prominence than for his ability as a footballer, Emmanuel Frimpong has a new club and a new country to entertain.
The former Arsenal trainee has recently been plying his trade in Russia with Ufa and the aptly named, Arsenal Tula.
Frimpong marked his debut for Tula in typical Frimpong fashion by opting to wear ‘DENCH’ (in Russian) on the back of his shirt.
The locals may have been impressed with Frimpong’s ‘fluency’ in Russian but he failed to impress on the pitch and was hauled off shortly after being substituted on.
The forever colourful character will turn out for newly promoted side AFC Eskilstuna, who appear to be having an identity crisis of their own.
Since their formation just 13 years ago, the club have changed their name FOUR times and completely uprooted the club from one city to another (MK Dons, anyone?)
These two are made for each other by the sounds of it!
Four decades later..
IK Sirius will play in the top tier of Swedish football for the first time in forty two years after narrowly missing out on promotion in recent seasons.
The club plummeted down the leagues to the Swedish fourth division after relegation from the Allsvenskan in 1974 but they’ve finally fought their way back to the top.
Will they survive? They have gone straight back down on each occasion they’ve gained promotion so far…
Hej då England!
Jonas Olsson deciding to leave the glamour of the Premier League for IF Djurgårdens (DIF) may have surprised a few.
However, after a lack of regular playing time at West Brom recently, the 34 year-old will be looking forward to the challenge of helping restore past glory at one of the most supported clubs in Sweden.
And Djurgården aren’t stopping there…
Romantic return for former hero
Thierry Henry, Paul Scholes, Didier Drogba are recent examples of one returning to their old stamping ground for a final hurrah.
But Kim Källström back to Djurgården (DIF) could quite possibly top the lot!
After playing in France, Russia, Switzerland, and a bizarre four game spell at Arsenal, Källström’s colourful career has come full circle after signing a two-year deal to rejoin DIF, whom he helped to win consecutive league titles during a golden era for the club in the early noughties.
Such is his legendary status, he was immediately handed back his old number (16) while his confirmed return led the club’s website to crash.
Källström joins Jonas Olsson and Andreas Isaksson in a ‘Dad’s Army’ of seasoned pros who will seek to revive the fortunes of a club which has failed to achieve anything of note since his first spell at the club.
Magnus the Magician?
Magnus Pehrsson is the new man in charge at Malmö FF and here are his objectives for the season:
- Qualify for the Champions League Group Stage
- Win the Allsvenskan Title
- Do both of the above by playing attacking, free-flowing football.
Put simply, Pehrsson must deliver the league title as a minimum this season and hope for the best that he is liked by the fans at the Swedbank Stadium.
Former coach Allan Kuhn led the club to the Allsvenskan title in his one and only season in charge last year but failed to entertain the Malmö faithful with his dogged and ponderous style of play hence his, somewhat, harsh sacking.
Good luck, Magnus, it looks like you’re going to need it!