Article written by Charlie Bee
Oh Emmanuel. To say our relationship has been somewhat temperamental would be a rather large understatement. From your goal against Wolves on your debut, lifting us out of a barren run of form to nonchalantly planting yourself on one end of the pitch for most of last season. Then out of the blue you turned up and produced a 40yard dash and with a worldly finesse shot past the stranded Petr Cech to prolong our inevitably futile Champions League dreams.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s first season was great. Under the somewhat more lassez-faire Redknapp, the Togolese target man shot to prominence firing in 18 goals in all competitions – a healthy return for a player we had on loan, a record only bettered in terms of goals-games at the time by Jurgen Klinsmann. If his first season was a footballing blockbuster his second was rather more ‘Raziak’ in its undertones.
However his drop in form can sort of be accounted for. He signed late-on (Again) courtesy of Levy’s penny-pinching tactics, took a while to adapt to the new formation, went off to the AFCON and was overshadowed completely by Gareth Bale. The new formation actually largely accounts for such a dip in performance. As the head striker in our 4-2-3-1 his role was much more hold-up based than a lethal finisher. Just look at <Ahem> Grant Holt for a similar justification.
The Norwich striker scored an impressive 15 Premier League goals in his first season in the top flight, a statistic made even more impressive by the fact that he was a substitute for large portions of the first half of the season. Hell, there was even shouts of an England call up for him (Who says English football is in decline?). As Lambert departed, Hughton placed less of a focus on the striker and tried to deploy a more ‘all round’ aspect to Norwich’s play. It’s hard to comment on whether it worked or not, because well, it’s Norwich and nobody really watches them play.
A comparison to Grant Holt probably doesn’t put you in the greatest stead when trying to prove your point, but it’s clear Adebayor is the closest match to a technically proficient striker we have… This side of £20million. The fact of the matter remains that we do need another striker – or two. But let’s settle for one for now and see how Levy handles that. Surprisingly it’s David Villa that appeals the most, even above Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke. For a much more modest price tag we’re getting a player who sits in the same mould as a Van Der Vaart or a Klinsmann. Whilst it would likely only be a couple of years of gracing our turf, Villa reeks of footballing genius and it would be one of sheer footballing genius. Given his relatively modest price tag in comparison to the astronomical figures mentioned with Benteke, there would be room to perhaps get the young Croatian, Ante Rebic on board and put him through our youth system, nurturing him into a top striker in the same way we took Luka Modric from a relative unknown to benchwarmer at Madrid. Step up.
Even Fernando Torres, a player whose price tag and weekly wages make you appreciate Adebayor all the more, struggled to adapt to the new way of playing at Chelsea and continues to do so. Whilst we hardly have the funds that Abramovich does to simply go out and buy a whole new fleet of creative midfielders to assist Adebayor it can be said that he is no longer the focus of the team. Previously when Van Der Vaart occupied the CF berth he was much more creative, combined with Modric from deep – whereas with Bale he’s much more centralised in his focus. To score. That’s by no means a negative but you can see how Adebayor’s role has changed, from a goal scorer to a hold up player.
If AVB could get him back on form, not only would he prove himself to be a proficient man-manager with even the most stubborn players, something which haunted his spell at Chelsea prior to moving to us, but he’d also save us a significant portion of our transfer budget. We awarded Kyle Walker and Scott Parker with time to adapt, why where we so harsh on Ade? Whether you love him, or hate him it remains that Adebayor is a Spurs player for the forseeable future and so we have no choice but too pray to the footballing gods that his Redknapp form returns. Forever.