Emmanuel Adebayor – a Changed Man for Tottenham


Emmanuel Adebayor has returned to Tottenham after a summer of protracted negotiations between Spurs, Manchester City and the player but which Adebayor will turn up this season?

Moody, disinterested, disruptive influence, difficult to handle and controversial are terms which have in the past been used to describe Adebayor. His arrival at Tottenham brought a major change in the man. He was the same player, talented and a gifted goal scorer but a different man – playing with a smile on his face or a shrug of the shoulders when something didn’t go his way. It was a difficult decision for him to join Tottenham, given his past Arsenal connections and the way Spurs supporters had treated him. Not many players have made the move between the two north London neighbours and even fewer had made a success of it.

Tottenham signed Adebayor on a season long loan at the end of August, 2011 and he quickly ensured that the Tottenham fans would forget his past connections by scoring on his debut at Wolverhampton.

Taken from a report of that match in September, 2011

‘In the 67th minute of his debut for Tottenham against Wolves at Molineux, Emmanuel Adebayor collected a through ball from Scott Parker and coolly scored his first goal for his new club. This set Spurs up for their first Premier League win of the season and made him the eleventh Tottenham player to score on their Premier League debut.

To make certain that the Tottenham fans were behind him, he scored twice against Liverpool on his home debut – the perfect response to any doubters. Tottenham having lost their opening two matches had, after two games with Adebayor in the team, two wins and six points from four matches. Adebayor was very much part of that success which continued in an undefeated run of eleven matches in the Premier League. He didn’t experience his first defeat with Spurs until losing at Stoke City in December due to a number of controversial refereeing decisions.

A Changed Man

Throughout the season Adebayor spoke of enjoying his football at Spurs. As a player with a reputation for being difficult to handle, some clubs were wary of taking on Adebayor but in Harry Redknapp he had found a manager whom he liked and who used his experience to get the best from the player. The former Tottenham manager had given him the freedom he enjoyed. Speaking last October, Adebayor said in an interview with Sam Wallace for The Independent:

"“He [Redknapp] said to me: ‘Adebayor, you know what you can do. Just go out there, have fun and bring me back the three points’. When a manager has that kind of belief, you don’t want to disappoint him.”"

For the remainder of last season Adebayor continued to enjoy being at Spurs. Laid-back and friendly, Adebayor was a changed player from the one who had a history of causing problems over the years. Redknapp often stated that he had no problems with Adebayor – “He has done ever so well for us. He has not been a minute’s problem,’ Redknapp said in April.

But he also has a toughness, one that is quite understandable for a man who has made his way from a poor nation in west Africa and very nearly lost his life on that ill-fated bus in Angola. He has a way of living and he will not change it for anyone.

Writing on his web-site about joining Spurs last year, he said,

“The past is the past, I’m looking to the future, you have to be strong to decide to come to Tottenham, I played for three-and-a-half years for Arsenal and there’s a lot of rivalry. All I want is to play football and to enjoy myself and today I’m a Tottenham footballer. Tottenham have always been a good club. I know a lot of the players and I have a lot of friends here, so when I got the call to come and join the club and to help the club achieve what they want to achieve, I quickly said yes”.

He is greatly involved in charity work in his homeland and is aware of how fortunate he is.

"“I feel extremely privileged to be where I am today, and know it is my duty to do what I can to help others”"

He further commented, “The Ivory Coast is in a terrible situation, with recent fighting killing hundreds of people and forcing nearly 50,000 people to flee their homes. People are suffering and dying in Africa, children are being orphaned. That’s why I am speaking up about this, to make more people aware, to make more people help. I’m only helping a few, but we need to be helping thousands. It’s the least I can do.”

Andre Villas-Boas will be looking to motivate Adebayor and work to get the best from his new signing. He will want the relaxed Adebayor to provide the goals and be the link between midfield and attack. A highly motivated Adebayor can be the player to take advantage of Tottenham’s attacking threat from the wings but also create space for midfield players to get forward in support. With his record of goals and assists last season, Adebayor has set himself a high standard to achieve but if he improves on last season’s stats, it could be just what Tottenham needs to move them forward once again and bring success to the club.