The tag of troublemaker has clung to Emmanuel Adebayor the same way a child holds onto his mother for dear life on the first day of school. Identified as being a bad influence and disruptive presence with a rebellious streak bubbling under the surface it hasn’t been an easy ride for the Togolese striker over the last couple of seasons. He saw each and every Arsenal fans temper flare after declaring his intentions to leave for Manchester City before running the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of them just months later. That incited an intolerable amount of hatred to flow through the hearts and minds of the Gunners.
Red shirts poured towards the front of the away end in the Etihad Stadium hoping to get a piece of Adebeyor who slid on his knees, arms outstretched with a impertinent grin etched on his face glaring right into the eyes of those baying for his blood. Anyone looking at Arsene Wenger could see him straining at the leash not to run on and pummel his former striker into submission. Yet only a few years later he had entered the bad books of every Man City supporter after he publicly denouncing the club, manager Roberto Mancini and the members of the boardroom. That was followed by him going on strike whilst picking up a cool £175k-per-week in wages which, he didn’t think, was disrespectful at all contrary to the blue half of Manchester.
Fortunately for Adebayor he’s been given yet another chance to let his football do the talking at Tottenham Hotspur with notorious wheeler dealer Harry Redknapp snapping him up on loan. With his Arsenal roots and capacity to irritate fans at the drop of a hat it seemed like he’d be in for a turbulent ride at White Hart Lane. Signing on deadline day with many Spurs fans writing him off before he’d even pulled on the famous lillywhite shirt it’s taken the 27-year-old less than three weeks to go from zero to hero. Three goals in two games and some five star performances have already got the Spurs fans chanting his name. New teammate Gareth Bale has even pegged him down as being the man to fire them back into the top four and the Champions League. But has he finally simmered down and found a club he can feel comfortable at or, is he just a ticking time bomb waiting to explode?
Although it’s early days there is cause to think that Adebayor has finally found a club he can settle at and exhibit his footballing talents. His performances so far have been encouraging and in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Liverpool he was a constant thorn in the side of the Reds rear-guard. When Adebayor has his mind fully focused on his football he is literally unstoppable on the field. He has the height, strength, speed and agility to give a defender nightmares at the mere mention of his name. Despite his career at Spurs being in it’s infancy I think he has realised that it’s time to turn over a new leaf and make headlines for all the right reasons.
In my opinion he owes his revival to Redknapp who is a manager more than capable of handling his stormy personality and getting the absolute best out of him when it matters the most. I’ve been critical of Adebayor before over his attitude and how his disrespectful conduct at Man City was inexcusable. Although I believed it was right for Mancini to take the hard line approach over his actions during the summer a more pragmatic method should have been implemented. The player needs to know his manager values him and is considered an important part of the football club. Long story short he needs to be mollycoddled and it’s common knowledge that Man City’s Italian coach doesn’t have the adroitness when it comes to man management. Redknapp, on the other hand, is well renowned in that field. Instead of flying off the handle and handing out a stern punishment he is subtler than that and will realise the only thing the striker needs is guidance and maybe a positive word in his ear. Adebayor knows he is wanted at Spurs and his new manager will have already worked his magic to boost his confidence and get him to channel his focus into playing football. He’s certainly done just that with two energetic performances and three goals that are indicative of the qualities a world class striker possesses. His intelligent link ups with Jermaine Defoe and Luka Modric were also a delight and it was nice to see him back playing with a smile on his face.
I don’t expect any of the shenanigans that transpired at Arsenal and Man Cty to occur at Tottenham. Whilst it’s rather premature to say whether Adebayor has actually fully turned a corner and made a beeline for the end of the street I do think he is on the cusp of doing just that. However there is the worry that he will go nuclear and wipe out all the positives he’s manufactured in one fowl swoop. What I do know is he has a manager in Harry Redknapp who will provide that calming influence and give him the attention that he craves. But with a player like Adebayor their will always be a spark within ready to ignite at any second.