It’s fair to say it’s been a bit of a miserable time for Emmanuel Adebayor since making his move from Manchester City to Tottenham a permanent one in the summer.
As well as being absent for the first few weeks of the Premier League season with back and then hamstring troubles, the Togolese striker has been limited to just five league appearances, all from the substitute’s bench since his return from injury. While the chorus of boos that resonated around White Hart Lane in regards to the substitution which involved Adebayor once again replacing Jermain Defoe was more in association with the popularity of Defoe rather than the unpopularity of Adebayor, it still wouldn’t have done wonders for a 28-year-old whose confidence already appears fragile at the moment, and was indicative of the way his season is going at the moment.
As a result of Adebayor’s unhappy start to the campaign, Andre Villas-Boas has had to fend off suggestions in recent weeks that the Togo international wants to leave White Hart Lane after just three months back at the club.
It seems as if part of Adebayor’s problem currently is that he has struggled to adapt to the change of managerial style at White Hart Lane. Harry Redknapp’s managerial style was especially paternalistic. Redknapp was an oddity in the sense that he appeared to love certain players and distain others. And he loved Adebayor, which was instrumental to the striker’s success last season, simply because Adebayor is a player who just wants to be loved. This was evident by the way he ran across the full length of the pitch to taunt Arsenal fans when he scored for Manchester City three years ago, he just feels the need to be adored more than most.
Now under the leadership of AVB, Adebayor has to contend with a managerial style that doesn’t cohere with his personality. AVB has a much more robotic style than Redknapp, more conscious of the intricacies and technicalities of the game rather than concerning himself over players’ feelings and happiness at the club. This was very much evident at Chelsea last season when he just didn’t bother connecting with the ring leaders at the club such as Terry, Lampard and Drogba. And ironically AVB’s management style is remarkably similar to Roberto Mancini’s at Manchester City, who of course deemed Adebayor surplus to requirements as soon as he replaced Mark Hughes as manager at the Etihad.
One thing that Adebayor couldn’t foresee was the revival of Jermain Defoe’s career at Spurs. Seemingly on his way out under Redknapp last season, Defoe has been in incredible form scoring five goals in ten Premier League appearances, making it hard under AVB’s formation, for the Togolese striker to get a look in. And while Adebayor may consider himself more of a household name than Defoe, Villas-Boas has proven with the goalkeeping situation regarding Brad Friedel and Hugo Lloris that reputation counts for nothing.
That being said, Defoe’s recent purple patch hasn’t detracted most Tottenham fans from wanting to see Adebayor regain his place back in the first eleven, especially as £6 million man Clint Dempsey hasn’t made the impression he would have wanted since leaving Fulham in August. Spurs fans are beginning to get slightly frustrated at Villas-Boas’ inflexibility regarding Adebayor’s lack of minutes on the pitch, and the Portuguese manager will have to be careful that he doesn’t wear the patience of the Spurs fans and Adebayor alike too thinly, especially if results continue to be patchy.
One would think it will be unlikely that AVB, who as mentioned is stubborn at the best of times, will consider playing both Defoe and Adebayor up front together as they visit the champions Manchester City on Sunday. Where many Tottenham fans may disagree with their manager, AVB likes to play Dempsey as a second striker, which may not be required in games such as at home to Wigan, but will come in more useful in games where they will be expected to be under the cosh, and worked wonderfully in Spurs’ 3-2 victory over Manchester United last month.
With no guarantee of starting on Sunday, Emmanuel Adebayor may well become increasingly frustrated at his lack of opportunities. As cited in the article, Adebayor is a player who needs to be loved and he is not the type of personality who will keep hushed about not being the main man at White Hart Lane.
Therefore, can we realistically expect to see Adebayor leave in January? Whilst it seems unlikely at the moment, it may not be beyond the realms of possibility. Obviously it is primarily dependent on whether AVB begins to start Adebayor more regularly. I don’t think we can underestimate what a crucial month in the season November is for both Spurs and Adebayor’s future at the club. It is such a tough month for the club, with the visit of Man City, as well as two London derbies away to Arsenal and at home to West Ham followed by the visit of Liverpool, who despite their poor run of form, is never an easy game. Depending on how much Adebayor features in these four games will give us a real indication of how important he is to AVB’s plans. It is finally dependent on what the Spurs manager’s thoughts are regarding bringing transfers into White Hart Lane. Whilst reports that the north London club are in for Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse seem unlikely, I think speculation surrounding AVB’s interest in Schalke’s Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Shaktar Donetsk’s William appears more genuine.
Do you think Adebayor will stay at Spurs past January? Let me know on Twitter @matt_of_the_day