Emmanuel Adebayor has been a failure everywhere he’s been. Not because he’s a terrible footballer, but because the early promise shown at each of his clubs quickly fizzed out into nothing but a fair bit of frustration and plenty of derision.
He doesn’t really care, though, and maybe that’s the problem. Adebayor gets on with his job as a modern day athlete with that mischievous grin on his face – and not in a good way – while his advisors, who do their own job rather poorly, pull the strings on his turbulent career.
Adebayor had all the makings of one of the best strikers in the Premier League, perhaps even in Europe. It’s that hybrid of pace, unmatchable strength and scoring ability from a whole host of angles that so many clubs are looking for. He was close to unstoppable in 2007-08 when Arsenal finished third in the Premier League, dropping out of the title race at the final hurdle.
Following that, the influence of those around him came to the fore, as Adebayor demanded something more for what he had done for only one season – either a new contract or a move to AC Milan. It would set the trend for the rest of his career in the bigger leagues of European football, with that chapter likely coming to a close as Besiktas move in to take him off Tottenham’s hands.
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Though even at Spurs, his first good season spent at White Hart Lane on loan was an act to secure himself a contract for the following season. His second year with the club mirrored that of his “second” year with Arsenal following the 30-goal campaign. He did very, very little, only to later confirm his ability to conjure something brilliant when there were doubts as to whether he still had life left in him: the goal against Villarreal in the Champions League and the performance at Stamford Bridge.
He should have been the next in line to carry on from what Didier Drogba set at Chelsea. Both very similar in terms of build and athleticism, while on his day Adebayor was unplayable, ironically much like Drogba was when playing against Arsenal.
But we shouldn’t be so surprised. The sports world is littered with athletes who could have been so much more but chose an alternate route. It’s a combination of the money in the game and the ease at which players can force moves elsewhere if they’re not happy for one reason or another. In the specific case of Adebayor, it’s the player’s reluctance to learn from previous mistakes. He’s never truly had a club he could call home, as during his spell with Manchester City, he went on loan to Real Madrid for six months – a period in his career that is easily forgettable. Sure, he did ok, but to what end? He got the short-term security he was looking for with Tottenham the following season, and then decided – or was advised – that something a little more concrete was needed for the season after that.
What is slightly amusing, though, is the player’s belief that he still warrants high-end wages, something akin to a star player at a Champions League club. Again, he hasn’t been a Champions League calibre player for many seasons, and it has nothing to do with lack of ability. If Besiktas have the funds to push through on this deal then fine, it’s a good deal for both parties. Incidentally, Adebayor may bemoan the lack of European football next season due to Besiktas’ participation in a match-fixing scandal, but that’s the bed he’s made for himself. Plus I don’t really think he’s too bothered.
Is Adebayor deserving of his current position in football, having failed to maintain a high level in the game?
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