Adebayor Could Still Feature for Tottenham

Adebayor plays for Tottenham
Adebayor plays for Tottenham /

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With mere hours left in the summer transfer window, it seems as if Tottenham has run out of options for Emmanuel Adebayor. He’s been offered on permanent and loan deals to clubs in England and abroad. Daniel Levy’s even reportedly agreed to pay a portion of the Togolese international’s £100,000 a week salary in exchange for simply getting him away from Tottenham. And yet no deal has materialized for the unwanted striker.

The club’s eagerness to part ways with Adebayor reeks of desperation, though not so much that it has dissuaded clubs like Aston Villa or West Ham from requesting his services on loan. Neither deal has yet come all that close to being finalized however, reportedly mostly due to the player’s preference. That Adebayor seems content with dragging this absurd saga out even further suggests that a.) he actually doesn’t want to play football anymore, just wants to be paid like he does or b.) he loves Tottenham too much to move away so easily.

Let’s be generous for a moment and assume that it’s mostly the latter. Maybe Adebayor still firmly believes he has a role to play in Mauricio Pochettino’s team despite the fact that the Argentine manager wants nothing to do with him. At 31 he’s certainly not in his prime, but perhaps he’s even content to play a role from the bench. Perhaps he – and he alone – sees how valuable his mind-boggling ability to ignore the offsides rule would be in late game situations.

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Or maybe he simply knows that he’s beaten this kind of thing before. A year and a half ago he was in an almost identical situation. He was pushed to the very edges of Tottenham’s set up, forced to train in the reserves for much of the first half of the 2013/14 season. It seemed as if he’d be offloaded in one way or another in the the January transfer window.

And then: Tim Sherwood. Tottenham’s academy coach was promoted to caretaker manager after the sacking of André Villas-Boas in December. At Daniel Levy’s rumored urging, Sherwood brought Adebayor in from the cold. He was back in the first team and quickly re-instated to the starting XI. That it somehow worked – that Adebayor started in almost all of the games in the latter half of that campaign and scored 11 goals along the way – is a testament mostly to Sherwood’s impressive man management skills. He got the best out of Adebayor right when the club and the player needed it most.

It wasn’t meant to last of course. Sherwood’s departure did not bode well for Adebayor. Without the English coach’s support and with Harry Kane ascendant, the striker was demoted to bench duties. It didn’t help that he’d also fallen into a similar rut that put him on the out prior to Sherwood’s rejuvenation. Family drama again came calling and Adebayor left the squad midway through the season, barely featuring again for the club even after his return.

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Is it possible, then, that Adebayor somehow thrives on negative reinforcement? Could it be he only finds his best when those around him think he’s at his worst? Perhaps. The questions themselves are irrelevant though. If Adebayor is still in north London by 6pm local time tonight, the Tottenham won’t have many other options but to feature him somehow. They can either pay Adebayor an exorbitant salary to sit at home for the next eight months before his contract runs out, or they could find a way for him to feature in games this season.

Given that Tottenham are obliged to participate in four different competitions of varying degrees of significance again this term, it’s entirely conceivable that Adebayor gets minutes. It might not be in the Premier League – especially if Tottenham can recruit a new striker at some point Tuesday – but maybe the Togolese gets time in the Europa League or League Cup depending on the competition. It could be fun to see how well he can do against Azerbaijani champions Qarabağ in Tottenham’s Europa League group games against them.

Regardless of whether he stays or goes, whether he rediscovers his form or not, Adebayor’s story is less frustrating than it is incomprehensible. There’s no denying that he’s struggled through situations few other players can relate to – terrorist attacks, multiple deaths in his family – but he possesses such evident quality at his best that you would think, or perhaps rather hope, that it would shine through despite any circumstance. His form in the latter half of 2013/14 was a delight for any fan, not just Tottenham supporters. For proving himself capable of that minor miracle – not to mention his prior exploits – he is owed one last chance, by both himself and the game.

Next: Tottenham Dispatched to the Bottom Through Four Games