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Sports News
Derek Boateng for Newcastle, As ... 5/30/2007

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...Allardyce plots shift in midfield
According to the British newspaper - The Independent - Sam Allardyce is set to make the Ghana international Derek Boateng his first signing at Newcastle United.

The expected arrival of the 24-year-old is a clear sign that the new manager wants to overhaul his midfield as well as defence with the injury-prone and high-earning Kieron Dyer, who has interested Tottenham Hotspur, unlikely to figure in Allardyce''s plans.

Boateng, a striker who has been converted into an attacking midfielder, plays for the Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem. Allardyce has been tracking him for some time and had earmarked him as a recruit for Bolton.

Although the transfer fee is thought to be less than £1m, Boateng has had an outstanding season at Beitar, having moved there last summer when he signed a three-year contract. He had previously played in Greece and Sweden and represented Ghana in last summer''s World Cup.

Boateng has yet to fulfil his potential although he has thrived in Israel. Four years ago Middlesbrough attempted to sign him but the bid failed because he could not secure a work permit. Since then he has become a regular international and now partners Michael Essien in the heart of midfield for his country.

Boateng may not be a high-profile signing but he is the kind of imaginative arrival that was the hallmark of Allardyce''s time at Bolton. Having missed out on Steve Sidwell, who has moved to Chelsea from Reading after initially indicating he would move to St James'' Park, he also represents the attacking threat that Allardyce feels Newcastle lack from the centre of midfield.

The Independent

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