Should Spurs push the boat out for enigmatic Adebayor?
Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor is all about contrasts. He has outstanding natural ability, yet little application. He is one of football’s highest earners, yet his club are happy to loan him out to a rival. And he is feared by many, yet respected by few.
Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Tottenham – it’s a pretty impressive CV for someone who has had only one truly excellent season at the highest level. The 2007/08 campaign was his finest moment, leading Arsenal in their title charge and a good Champions League run. That summer he flirted with other clubs, and never again looked truly happy at Arsenal. His honeymoon at Manchester City lasted four games before that celebration – then when Roberto Mancini took over, the Italian never really took to Adebayor. And that’s from a manager happy to put up with Mario Balotelli’s antics at two different clubs – you know Adebayor must be difficult to deal with.
The frequent accusation levelled at Adebayor is that he is greedy – he starts well at clubs and then looks for a move elsewhere. If that’s the case, Spurs have done well to get him on loan – he’s playing for his future (although doesn’t seem keen on taking the pay cut that would be required for him to stay), and if his form dips, Spurs don’t have to worry about who will sign him – it won’t be their problem in the summer.
On the pitch, Adebayor is perfect for Spurs. Few other sides in the world have so many sources of creativity – pace on both flanks from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, invention in the hole from Rafael van der Vaart, and clever distribution from deep, thanks to Luka Modric. Spurs lacked a real number nine last season – Peter Crouch was more suited to the European Cup than the Premier League, and with no Champions League football, Tottenham no longer needed him.
Adebayor’s contribution has been outstanding. He’s scored goals, of course, but more impressive has been his selflessness. His pass completion rate is better than most other players in his mould, and no other out-and-out striker has recorded as many assists in the Premier League this season. Importantly, he has been adaptable; he’s capable of playing with Van der Vaart just behind him, or with Jermain Defoe as more of a direct option, which answers another criticism regarding his inability to play in a strike duo.
Two of Tottenham’s three defeats came before Adebayor made his debut – granted, they were against the two Manchester clubs, so it’s probably not a fair sample. But Redknapp knows how important the Togolese striker is to his side. He looks to play him in every game, and is keen to keep him at the club.
But the question marks remain – he’s been a success, but is it worth Spurs committing themselves to a big transfer fee, and even more in wages over the course of his contract? With his past reputation, probably not. And that is Adebayor, a man of contrast. He does a great job for your club, yet you still don’t know if you want him there permanently.
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