It’s common knowledge that Tottenham Hotspur need a striker. It’s also common knowledge that Harry Redknapp has cast the odd furtive glance in the direction of Emmanuel Adebayor. What is not known is whether the Tottenham faithful would be happy to have him at the club. I suspect the answer is no.
Harry Redknapp invited the same controversy last summer by signing the former Arsenal skipper William Gallas. Redknapp maintained that if Gallas played well then the fans would forget where he had been and appreciate him for his football. He was proved right. Gallas was Tottenham’s most consistent centre back last year and the Tottenham fans were glad to have him. Redknapp’s assertion was undeniably correct. If Adebayor scores goals and plays well for Tottenham everyone will forget where he’s been and the fans will appreciate his football. Redknapp is right to rely on the fickleness of fans, it is certainly a consistent characteristic, however it could be this same trait that would turn the signing of Adebayor into a disaster.
The problem lies in the differences between Adebayor and Gallas. Whilst both players have generated negative headlines for their spats on and off the field, Gallas still exudes a consistency and professionalism that Adebayor cannot match. Gallas has an obviously competitive nature that is serious and not self-indulgent, he expects those around him to be as serious as he is and he is a leader. These qualities were evident early on at Spurs. Adebayor is a more divisive influence in the dressing room, he wants to be the star, the most important, and he wants astronomical wages. It is far better for a player to have a strop because things are not going the team’s way rather than their own.
Also, Gallas is a more proven player. At 33, he has won League titles and he is a proven centre back at the uppermost level, his addition to the Tottenham squad was unquestionably strengthening it. Adebayor is not such a safe bet. Despite his excellent goalscoring record in the Premier League he developed a reputation, even amongst Arsenal fans, for squandering chances, earning himself the nickname ‘Ade-Barn Door’. At Tottenham, enough chances get squandered already.
Most importantly perhaps is the aura of Arsenal that Adebayor still carries. Whilst Gallas may have been there a season longer, the fact that he went there from Chelsea and then onto Spurs seems to soften the blow. He’s just working his way around the London clubs with no particular allegiance. Adebayor may have gained some kudos by running the entire length of the field to antagonise the Arsenal faithful but he still smells of the new Emirates leather. He still represents that club more than Manchester City or Real Madrid.
In the end though, Adebayor is simply more of a gamble. A high transfer fee, high wages, high maintenance and all round high risk, and that’s before he’s even kicked a ball. I know Spurs are desperate but is Adebayor really the answer?