Over the course of September, Emmanuel Adebayor's status at Tottenham Hotspur has become a subject of some acrimony.
Late summer, transfer talk ultimately amounted to nothing, but differing takes over his position at Tottenham have ensured his future remains uncertain.
A defiant Adebayor was quoted by the London Evening Standard on September 9 speaking of his intention to make himself Spurs' first-choice striker. Despite the increased competition for places he was facing, and a recent personal tragedy he was still overcoming, the player spoke of his renewed focus.
Later that week, his boss Andre Villas-Boas—here in the Daily Express—revealed the striker would work with the development team until he decided otherwise. Though he was not forthcoming on the specific reasons Adebayor had fallen out of favour, he made it clear he could have left the previous month if he had wanted to.
The Mirror's Alan Nixon subsequently reported Spurs were willing to loan out the Togo international, with Championship sides Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers among the suggested interest parties.
QPR boss Harry Redknapp confirmed his interest to Sky Sports last week, but was not confident of the chances of a deal happening. A day later, Matt Law of The Mirror wrote that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was now keen for Villas-Boas to reintegrate Adebayor in his squad.
Prior to these recent developments, this writer had pondered whether Spurs would regret Adebayor remaining at the club.
Thus far it has not had an adverse effect on their performances. The North Londoners currently sit second in the Premier League and have enjoyed a bright start to their Europa League campaign, too. The player himself has certainly remained supportive, tweeting his congratulations following the team's 1-0 win over Cardiff City.
Well done Spurs, another win and great position in the league. Have a great week guys!— Emmanuel Adebayor (@E_Adebayor) September 22, 2013
Adebayor's presence has not yet become a proper nuisance to Villas-Boas. It may prove to be the opposite, with him becoming an option the coach again decides to make use of.
Nonetheless, a scenario where he is not sold at some point during the next year would require a substantial turnaround in circumstances at Spurs. Even if he finds his way back into contention, it is difficult to imagine him now doing so at the consistent expense of new players like Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela.
Beyond removing his substantial earnings from the wage bill (and possibly recouping something in the way of a transfer fee), his departure would also give Villas-Boas room to maneuver in regard to his attack.
In their current set-up, the Portuguese is starting only one out-and-out striker. So long as there is sufficient depth and quality among the supporting attacking midfielders, Spurs could get by with having just the three traditional forwards.
The 6'2" Harry Kane might be the one to benefit here. Offering a physical presence neither Jermain Defoe nor Soldado provide, without Adebayor around he would be the man called upon to give Spurs this different approach.
Though not as skillful as his more experienced teammate, Kane is an intelligent operator whose decision-making and ability on the ball have improved these last couple of years. Given more minutes, he is likely to progress further.
Alternatively, the sale of Adebayor would allow Villas-Boas to recruit from elsewhere if he feels his attack could still do with strengthening or varying.
The hope is Soldado will build on his decent start to life at Spurs and Defoe will remain a valuable contributor. Still, at 28 and 30 respectively, they are at points in their careers when the emergence of talented young prospects elsewhere will not be passed up as potential replacements without some serious thought.
Of course, that could happen even if Adebayor did not go. As it stands though, with him likely to be the next notable name leaving White Hart Lane, it seems a reasonable assumption to make of what might follow his exit.
Then again, given the twists and turns his career has already encompassed, do not be surprised if he is back as Villas-Boas' first-choice striker again by Christmas...