FC Flora's Estonian international defender Raio Piiroja has joined Vålerenga Fotball on loan.
The 23-year-old has opted to join one of Norway's strongest sides for the duration of the 2003 Norwegian season, with Vålerenga having the option of signing him on a permanent deal at the end of the campaign.
Vålerenga have agreed to pay the Estonian side a €50,000 fee for Piiroja's services in 2003 and have pledged to pay a further €500,000 as a transfer fee if the highly-rated defender fulfils his potential in Norway.
'A great challenge'
"I am very happy to sign this deal and especially impressed that the club was interested despite [the fact] I am not fully fit yet," said Piiroja. "It is a great challenge and obviously will help my development, as well as making the national team even stronger. I hope to stay fit, improve my skills and earn a permanent deal or a further transfer to some other European club."
The defender will join his international team-mate Kristen Viikmäe at the Oslo-based club after completing tests on Thursday which confirmed that he would recover from a knee injury sustained while training with Rosenborg BK.
Piiroja will be eligible to play in his new side's UEFA Cup campaign in 2003/04 but will miss the first match in European club competition after being shown a red card while playing for Flora in a UEFA Champions League qualifying round game against Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia FC.
The Pärnu-born graduate of the Flora academy will move to Oslo as soon as he has been granted a work permit. He has been a regular for the national team since November 1998 and has collected 34 caps and scored three goals for Estonia.
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