Tottenham’s Adebayor Problem

Adebayor plays for Tottenham
Adebayor plays for Tottenham /

ESPN FC reports this morning that Emmanuel Adebayor has declined the loan move to West Ham he had purportedly requested less than a week ago.

Prior to the failure to move the Togolese to east London, he’d been linked with a loan to Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa. Given the repertoire Adebayor developed with Sherwood when he took the helm at Tottenham for the latter half of the 2013/14 season, it was thought the striker might actually embrace a move to the Midlands club.

When that move fell through due to Adebayor evidently being reluctant to leave London, West Ham was offered instead. With Andy Carroll’s fitness consistently unreliable and Diafra Sakho’s legal troubles, Adebayor had some decent hope for regularly featuring for Slaven Bilić’s side. It appears as if that move is also off however.

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The ostensible sticking point for both of these failed moves was how much exactly Tottenham was going to supplement Adebayor’s wages. His supposed salary of £100,000 per week is enough to make him one of the highest paid players at the club and exceeds the means of most mid-table Premier League sides. Consequently any loan deal for him could only be possible on the condition that Tottenham pay part of Adebayor’s wages to play for a competing club.

That itself is not unusual; Tottenham’s original loan of Adebayor from Manchester City featured a similar clause that kept him on City’s payroll until a permanent agreement was reached. The problem with arranging a similar move this time goes a bit deeper than simply money though.

Prior to coming to Tottenham, Adebayor had been known as streaky at best, unmotivated at worst. He’d impressed enough at Arsenal to earn a move to the nouveau riche Manchester City in 2009. At City he produced decent returns on his first season but then abruptly tanked, thanks in part to the trauma he endured after witnessing the attack on the Togo international side’s bus as it traveled to 2010’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Still, he was a striker in his presumptive prime and it didn’t take long for other clubs to come calling. He impressed enough on a brief loan stint at Real Madrid to catch Harry Redknapp’s eye as he was looking to restock Tottenham’s strikers. He was brought to the club on loan in 2011.

Again, Adebayor was at his best, scoring 17 goals in his first season at Spurs in 2011/12. Then, almost predictably, his game dried up. Under André Villas-Boas he was demoted first to the bench and then embarrassingly to the development squad. It was there that Sherwood found him when he took over for Villas-Boas, languishing amongst the youngsters. With Levy’s support, Adebayor was brought back in from the cold and proceeded to have a truly inspired half season. He scored 11 goals from January onward and helped saved what would have otherwise been a lackluster season.

Personal drama dominated his next season and he was largely out of the squad entirely as a result. He made only 15 appearances in all competitions last term.

Pochettino and even Levy seemed ready to give up on the 31-year-old. When squad numbers were announced two weeks ago, Adebayor’s name was not included and his number 10 shirt had rightfully been passed on to Harry Kane. It seemed as if he were destined to leave the club.

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The limbo in which player and club now find itself is therefore especially frustrating. He’s clearly not wanted by the club, and presumably the player wants to continue playing, but no agreement can be reached that seems satisfactory to both parties. To make matters more complicated, his most recent rumored move to West Ham was apparently nixed in part due to the fact that Adebayor had proven himself unreliable and difficult to work with. It’s no surprise that Bilić and West Ham’s board might balk at the first sign of trouble.

Where we go from here is uncertain. Though out of the Premier League matchday squad, it’s possible that Adebayor could be included in the Europa League group games. Perhaps there he can – once again – demonstrate his value and continue to earn his wages, either with Tottenham or elsewhere.

Somehow, though, it seems much more likely that Adebayor will be content to continue to earn a paycheck and not much else for the duration of the last year of his contract with Tottenham. Next summer the club will part ways with the striker, either through a Bosman or simply the natural termination of the striker’s contract. It’s hard to imagine at this point that the split will be anything but acrimonious however.

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