On Thursday, I argued that interim Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood should not count on Emmanuel Adebayor, the temperamental Togolese Striker, for Sunday’s match against Southampton. But Adebayor turned in a performance fitting of a star player whose team was badly in need of a result. He ran his socks off and scored twice to lift Spurs victory. It was the first multiple goal game in the league for a Tottenham striker all season and it brought the doldrums of the last week for the club to an abrupt end.
But again the question must be asked, can such a volatile and enigmatic player be counted on over then long-term. Previous clubs and managers that have attempted to build around Adebayor have been burnt badly. And in Andre Villas-Boas, a manager appeared that realized the striker’s work rate and attitude were a mistake to mix with his team, especially some of the younger players.
No question exists that in Harry Redknapp’s final season, Spurs don’t finish in the top 4 without Adebayor’s contributions. It was the first time in years he had played out a season at a high level. In his time at Manchester City, he started quickly but after his infamous stamp on Robin Van Persie (his former Arsenal teammate), he never quite regained his top form, and by a year and a half into his City career, he was sent out on loan. In fairness to Adebayor, a intervening event — the attack on the Togo team coach traveling to the Cup of African Nations in January 2010 — may have impacted his psyche.
Still when Adebayor returned to the Premier League after justified time off many weeks later, he squandered much of the goodwill fans throughout football had for him because of the incident with his largely effortless play on the pitch and bad attitude off it.
Prior to his Manchester City career, his time at Arsenal was very much stop, start, stop, start. In time he did more to frustrate Gunners supporters than win any great love from them. Adebayor’s move to Manchester City was met with the type of hostility that the moves of long serving defenders Kolo Toure and Gaël Clichy failed to elicit from Arsenal supporters (in fact multiple Arsenal fans I know, even after City lifted the Premier League trophy in 2012, stated how happy they were for both Toure and Clichy to win the title. Samir Nasri? That’s another story entirely).
When he’s in the mood, Adebayor is a footballer to be reckoned with. When he’s not in the mood, which is most of the time, he’s a cancer in a dressing room and a noose around the neck of a manager and a club. Daniel Levy ill-advisedly broke his wage structure to bring Adebayor in permanently after impressing during his loan stint from Manchester City. The future Spurs manager, whoever it will be, would be wise to speak directly to Levy about Adebayor. A player as volatile and inconsistent as he is has very limited transfer prospects but having him see out his contract as a Spurs player is dangerous.
It’s difficult to dip back into the transfer window this January after Spurs summer outlay and sign another striker, but that is probably going to have to be done if Jermain Defoe leaves the club for MLS. That striker should not only be a Defoe replacement but also an Adebayor one.
As for Adebayor’s performance on Sunday, it was great to see him motivated and playing at a high-level. His skill only enhances the entertainment value of the Premier League. However, fans ought not to get too used to these sorts of performances from him because in time they will simply be distant memories.
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