Bjørn Johnsen in it for the long haul
Many new additions have been made in this year’s offseason, and unsurprisingly, none seem to have stirred more excitement than the signing of Norwegian striker Bjørn Johnsen.
Bjørn is a natural number 9, a striker. Throughout his career, he’s been asked to do the exact same thing for every team he’s played with: put the ball in the back of the net. His 6’5” stature allows him to be the perfect target man for crosses coming into the box, a profile that the Club has definitely missed in the past few years. The last player to fit this description was Didier Drogba, who last played with the Club in 2016.
No pressure, Bjørn.
“Didier Drogba is one of my favourite strikers of all time,” said Bjørn Johnsen. “It was helpful knowing I’m coming after players like Drogba and [Nacho] Piatti. I know there’s pressure to play in this team. That’s what you live for, and that’s what you play football for. It’s to have that pressure that pushes you to reach the heights of players like Drogba and Piatti. When you see what these players have done, you want to learn from it and try to emulate it.”
At 29 years old, Bjørn exudes the most important attribute you would want in a striker: confidence. Certain in his ability with an appetite to prove himself, the Norwegian international has played in leagues and teams all over the world, bringing his skill set to different clubs for short bursts of time.
Under head coach Thierry Henry, Bjørn sees an opportunity to bring his game to the next level, and hopefully find somewhere he can call home long term, with him and his wife also expecting a child. As someone who’s perfected the aerial part of the game, Johnsen is interested in working with his new head coach in becoming a better all-around threat.
“I can’t say no to these types of opportunities,” explained Johnsen. “The best person to learn from is someone who was amazing with his feet. Having Thierry Henry as a coach is what can help me take my next step. Tall players often experience their primes later in their careers. I know I need to learn and I’ll be learning from someone who knows a lot more than me.”
As he said himself during the presser, Bjørn knows that he’s starting from scratch, in a league he’s never played in before and that he’ll have to earn his spot. But this is a situation that Johnsen has become accustomed to in his career, and every time, he adapts quite nicely.
“The idea for me is to come to Montreal and push myself. I want to make sure I’m indispensable and a player the club needs. That’s the motivation right now and that’s what I’m striving for.”