It didn’t take too long for the questions surrounding Emmanuel Adebayor’s signing to be raised, and at this stage there’s a good case to make that his permanent move to Tottenham was always a bigger risk than the reported transfer fee suggests.
There’s been a lot said about the impact his sending off had on the game against Arsenal, with many citing that it changed the game completely and that Arsenal would have lost if Tottenham had kept all 11 players on the pitch. Yes the wind was firmly on Arsenal’s backs following the sending off, but is it really the best piece of analysis to say that Spurs would have unquestionably won had the sending off incident not occurred?
But Adebayor was always prone to making headlines in such a manner, whether it be a sending off or an altercation with a former team mate; the player is too much of a loose cannon.
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The decision to take the player on loan last season was a good move. There were no risks, no strings attached beyond the season and the player contributed enough for his signing to be considered a success. The problem is, maybe he did too much. Maybe there was simply too much of a good thing in bringing in a Premier League ready striker in his prime for a seemingly bargain fee. Any club who manages to land a player from Manchester City for what would be considered a good fee and decent wages should pat themselves on the back. But not necessarily in this case.
There’s a reason that this player has not lasted long at the clubs he’s been at. You could always see Adebayor in that bracket of players who were more likely to be a stopgap until Manchester City established themselves well enough to land the Sergio Agueros of this world. They had no problem lending him out to Tottenham, a top four rival, and they certainly didn’t miss him when he went to Real Madrid midway through the season.
But due to his attitude, tendency to do something daft and the altogether lack of stability, he was always going to be a player who Tottenham should have looked past. There has been nothing to suggest he’ll ever be the player who once scored 30 goals in a season, while he is more than capable of doing exactly what he did in the North London Derby on numerous occasions.
One angle might be to suggest that the player was up for a fight, looking to stake his claim as the team’s first choice striker while continuing on from his good showing against Manchester City. The other and arguably more obvious angle was that he wanted to make the game against Arsenal about himself. He scored the goal and could have done a lot more to take positive headlines, but a player as poorly advised as him will never steal the spotlight for the right reasons. He knew immediately what he had done after he flew into Santi Cazorla, and it was that overzealous pre-game attitude of wanting to get one over on Arsenal that led to the incident.
He’s a good player, but he’s also a plan B. He’s seemingly been a temporary solution since he left Arsenal in 2009, and Tottenham shouldn’t have given him a second thought following the loan spell of last season. There’s every reason to suspect the player could have done a lot for Spurs, potentially pushing them over the line for fourth again and helping to pick up a number of big scalps along the way. None of that is beyond reason. But where’s the stability? Where’s the comfort in knowing that you do have a striker for the long term?
Tottenham were always going to be in the market for another attacker come the next transfer window, and who’s to say they wouldn’t land a striker who could contribute more than Adebayor? Rotation will remain important, but the player has been known to voice his displeasure at one thing or another; this time it could be at a lack of games. Can Spurs move him on easily? Who knows. The wages he’s likely to command will make a move away from White Hart Lane difficult for all parties involved, while many clubs will be well aware of the problems they could be buying into.
It is by no means a disaster to have a player like him in the squad, but Tottenham are not a team who are devoid of serious options. They managed to get where they wanted to be last season, and were it not for Chelsea’s triumph in Europe, they would have been playing Champions League football this season (provided they negotiated their way out of the qualifying round). Adebayor helped them to that target, but the relationship should have ended with a thank you but no thanks in City’s direction.
Could Tottenham have won the North London Derby? Of course. And while Andre Villas-Boas will want to publicly defend his players, there’s got to be a serious level of thinking that this is a player who can’t totally be trusted in the long run.