Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Harry Redknapp Looks To Bring in Stephen Appiah After a Busy Transfer Window

After a busy January transfer window where Harry Redknapp brought in five new players, he has now turned his attention to Ghana's Stephen Appiah. In a week where all other business was put to one side, Redknapp can now focus his attentions on the combative midfielder who is available for free, hence he can be signed outside the window...

Appiah, 28, has been a free agent since his contract was cancelled by FIFA after he went on strike following a botched operation on his knee by doctors at Fenerbache. During his extended recuperation, Fenerbache approached Appiah to suspend his registration so they could bring in another foreign player. And when he refused they reneged on his wages.

In August at the height of his battle with Fenerbache, Appiah was quoted as saying,

"I am leaving Fenerbahce because of the despicable treatment I received from the management during my months out of action but I am sad for the fans because of their fantastic support they gave me during this trying time.

"I got injured while playing for this club, delayed my surgery just to help the club win the title, the club's doctors messed up the operation and now management are stabbing me in the back.

"The management have made it impossible to stay so I am looking ahead to new challenges."

As of from September, Appiah became a free agent and after being tracked by Arsenal, West Ham, Portsmouth, and Tottenham he chose the North London club as Harry Redknapp is a known long time admirer.

Despite lacking match fitness Redknapp has been reasonably impressed with the player once nicknamed "the Tornado" and he now looks set to make a decision on the Ghanaian after a specially arranged friendly against Reading last Wednesday.

Going into the game Harry Redknapp was very concerned with Appiah's match fitness as the game against Reading was his first competitive match since November 2007, although he did feature in some part against Libya in August 2008.

However all of Redknapp's fears were quickly dispelled as Appiah put in a performance that belied his long absence. Marshaling midfield well, Appiah even found the reserves for a few lung bursting runs as Spurs pushed on.

The game finished as a 4-4 draw with Appiah claiming an assist for the third goal. And he was said to be very happy at having lasted the 90 minutes, as he was very keen to prove his improved fitness.

On the day before the match Redknapp had intimated that the contract signing hinged on Appiah's fitness and having proved that the ball is firmly in Tottenham's court.

Simon Fletcher who was at the match for a Spurs fanzine had this to say after the game.

"I am surprised that Harry has not given Appiah the damn contract," Fletcher said.

"I saw the game and from his performance I think he deserves a deal because he is miles above the midfielders we have in our team. All the talk about fitness is rubbish.

"He run throughout the game with excellent passes and crucially leadership qualities on the pitch which we lack in our team.

"I think we will regret it if we don’t hand him a contract now. If other clubs were there to see him they will just trump us."

Arsenal and Celtic are rumoured to be hovering in case Spurs hesitate but a move across North London looks unlikely at this stage of the season and it would appear that Celtic may prove to be Spurs main contenders for the Blackstars captains signature.

Either way Spurs fans should know by Sundays North London Derby with Arsenal if Redknapp will sign Appiah and let him link up with his other transfer window captures, namely Robbie Keane, Jermaine Defoe, Pascal Chimbonda, Wilson Palacios, and Carlo Cudicini.

And Redknapp spoke of the need to let Appiah know one way or the other.

"He's been a fantastic player, I watched him and followed his career at Juventus and tried to sign him three or four times, I saw him play for Ghana on six or seven occasions, and I ended up signing Sulley Muntari (for Portsmouth)," Redknapp said.

"He's a top, top player, it's just that he has had an injury and his fitness is way before what you would hope for.

"But he's worked hard, so I'll give him a decision this week because he's been with us about a month now and he needs to know."

Players of Appiah's class only come around one in a blue moon and to have him ready to sign a contract for free would be an incredible coup, even for Redknapp. If the Tornado can even re-capture half the form that made him one of Europe's best midfielders two years ago Spurs will have a real player.

And there is no real gamble to it. A short contract and everybody wins. Surely Harry wouldn't let this one slip by?

twitter / WillieGannon