Tottenham Will Benefit from Not Selling Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor should be afforded the time to reintegrate himself into Tottenham's matchday squad and prove his merit to the coach.
Despite the Togolese striker failing to replicate the form he exhibited in his first season at Spurs (2011/12: 17 goals, 11 assists), it would be premature of the club to dispense with his services in January. He still possesses the capacity to heavily influence games—as evidenced by the Chelsea encounter back in May (see video, right)—and could flourish in a reduced role.
Andre Villas-Boas recently confirmed reports that Adebayor received several options to leave Spurs in the summer transfer window (via independent.ie):
"There were opportunities, yes, for him to leave," the Spurs boss said.
"We had to think about the situation so we presented the player and his agents the situations we were presented with."
You get the distinct impression that Spurs would have obligingly sanctioned Adebayor’s departure, had the player himself professed a strong desire to move on.
As it transpired, Adebayor elected to rebuff the advances of Turkish side, Beskitas, to remain in north London—a decision met by the vexation of fans pining for a youthful understudy to Roberto Soldado.
While it’s true there’s certainly the scope for a young forward in the squad—in light of the cumulative ages of Spurs’ principal forwards (87)—it’s not a pressing concern.
In fact, Adebayor’s experience could prove an invaluable asset this season for a number of reasons.
If Soldado succumbs to injury, Spurs will need an able deputy capable of holding up the ball and distributing to the flanks. Adebayor’s strength, aerial presence and nimble footwork facilitate his employment in this lone-striker role, despite his somewhat erratic finishing.
To that same effect, these same attributes could emerge as useful expedients in certain scenarios throughout the season:
1. In closing out fiercely contested games against tougher opposition.
2. For providing respite for the defence when protecting a lead with 10 men.
3. To aid the defending of set-piece onslaughts in the dying moments of games.
While he certainly won’t usurp Soldado’s starting berth, he offers a different skill set, and so represents another alternative for AVB.
Such an option could've been profitable late in the game against Cardiff, with their deep-lying defensive line proving difficult to penetrate; he would've been a completely different proposition for the Cardiff defenders to contend with, that's for sure.
Ultimately, for Adebayor to serve as an integral component of the team, he needs to regain some semblance of form. Darren Lewis, of The Mirror, argues that Soldado’s presence can engender a rejuvenated Adebayor:
The point is, Roberto Soldado could be the spur, the classy competition that Adebayor needs to recapture the animal he became on that Saturday afternoon at the Emirates last November.
Last season his only real rival was the diminutive Jermain Defoe, the pint-sized finisher who knows where the goal is but lacked the physical presence - in the view of Andre Villas Boas - to make the lone striker's role his own.
Some might counter with the riposte, "He only ever plays for his contract; there’s no passion there." Well, judging by his recent interview with Togolese radio station, Frequence 1, Adebayor is hell-bent on dispelling this accusation.
"Today I will not tell you that I 'm stronger than Soldado or Defoe or Lamela," he added. "We now have four in the attack, I do not know who ranks first, second or third but I know at the end I will be the first and it is the most important."
Regardless of the sentiment, this bold proclamation of intent suggests a fired-up Ade with something to prove—which can only be a positive for Spurs. Perhaps football is just the cathartic release the big man needs following the death of his brother; the catalyst that enlivens his own personal ambitions.
Irrespective of this, what shouldn't be in question is Adebayor's potential to be unplayable when at his best.
That fact alone should be reason enough to give him one last shot.
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