By 1970’s Gooner
Stephen Appiah looks like a typical Arsene Wenger transfer target.
He is going to cost nothing as he is now a free agent and is therefore not restricted in any way by the closure of the transfer window.
And he has been out of action for almost a year (since last October) so there is no significant competition from other “big” clubs, making Arsenal and the prospect of playing in the Champion’s league highly attractive.
The Premier League clubs to show an interest are reported to be West Ham and Portsmouth.
West Ham are in melt down at the moment having parted company with Alan Curbishley today so that much discussed move to Upton Park is now in jeopardy.
And if faced with a choice between Arsenal and Portsmouth then it’s no contest really.
The 27-year-old former Juventus star is available on a free transfer after leaving Fenerbahce last month.
He is reported to have left after a row with the club accusing them of botching a knee operation which is responsible for his long lay off.
Arsene Wenger usually checks out, through his wide network of contacts, the fitness of a player he is about to make a move for.
He has done that with another signing this transfer season, Amaury Bischoff, who has faced fitness problems for almost a year.
He made only one substitute appearance for his previous club, Werder Bremen, but is now expected to be fit in about five weeks time.
Appiah seems to have convinced Ghana’s national coach, Milovan Rajevac, of his fitness as he has been called up in the squad for the World Cup qualifier against Libya next Friday.
"Stephen Appiah is really big player. It's very important to be with rest all the players here as a leader," Rajevac told the Ghanaian media.
"As the coach I will assess him and check on the training and see how much he can play if he can play”.
Appiah, a former Fenerbahce midfielder, had trained with his former side Brescia in the Serie B in Italy to regain fitness and his Ghanaian colleague and friend, Manuel Junior Agogo, is relishing the chance to reunite with Appiah.
"I can't wait to get back and see Stephen because it has been a long time since he' s been with the boys so that's that going to be a boost for the boys. I have been speaking to him quite frequently this couple of weeks and I can't wait to see him” Agogo said.
Appiah arrived in Tripoli with Sulley Muntari and even though the team did not train on Wednesday morning, he went through two hours physical training at the team’s beach side base.
And afterwards, he told KickOffGhana.com he was just happy to be back. “It feels really good because now I am training knowing very well that I could be playing”.
He also gave an indication that he will decide which club to join after Friday’s game:
“There are talks but where I will play my club football next will become clear after Friday’s game. Then I will sit down and look at my options very well,” he said.
Appiah, nicknamed the “Tornado”, has been consistently linked with Arsenal over the past four years and his availability could prompt Wenger to consider adding him to a midfield which is in need of strengthening after the summer sales of Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto Silva and Alexandre Hleb.
Appiah has been given the captain’s armband for this important World Cup qualifier and Arsene Wenger is sure to send his scout to Libya as it’s a real opportunity to assess the player’s fitness in a competitive game.
If Appiah signs for Arsenal then he could give some useful hints to Wenger and the Arsenal players on how to face Turkish side Fenerbahce who are in Arsenal’s Champion’s League group.
Stephen Appiah Fact File
Date of birth December 24, 1980 (age 27)
Place of birth: Accra, Ghana
Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Playing position: Midfielder
Current club: Free Agent
Youth clubs: Hearts of Oak
1995-1997 Hearts of Oak 0- (-)
1997-2000 Udinese 36 (0)
2000-2002 Parma 29 (0)
2002-2003 → Brescia (loan) 31 (7)
2003-2005 Juventus 48 (3)
2005-2008 Fenerbahçe 64 (11)
1996- Ghana 53 (13)
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