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14.12.2004 Sports News

Essien In, Appiah Out

By Ibrahim Sannie Daara
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The revelation by Juventus over the weekend that it has began negotiation to sign the Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien has heightened speculation that Black Stars captain Stephen Appiah would leave his Italian club by the end of the season.

Juventus director general Luciano Moggi received a lustrous report on Essien after he commissioned scouts to monitor the Lyon midfielder in their match against Auxerre two weeks ago.

The possible arrival of Essien at Juventus would mean that competition for midfield position would be even keener for the Appiah whose first team's position has been threatened by his participation in the Olympic Games for Ghana last summer.

Coach Fabio Capello had little time to observe Appiah at the start of the season when he took charge of the team as the 23 year old spent most of the off season period with the Black Meteors at the Athens games.

Capello has played the Italian Manuel Blasi most of time in position Appiah occupied last season.

The arrival of Essien who is priced $ 15 million is likely to make competition for the midfield position even stronger.

At the start of the season Appiah was linked with a move to Arsenal but the deal fell through.

Commentators have recently linked Appiah to a Barcelona move.

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