Africa Cup of Nations 2013 - Emmanuel Adebayor - Togo and Tottenham Hotspur
“Adebayor, oh Adebayor, this is the best team you’ve ever played for”
Rewind to last season and Emmanuel Adebayor could do little wrong. On loan from Manchester City, the Togolese starred at Tottenham Hotspur, ending the season with goals and assists in double digits. Fans appeared just as impressed with the work rate, the movement and the link up play.
January 2013 and Adebayor’s star is on the wane, and seems in danger of burning out. The Togolese is a quality player but does he have a self-destructive streak? Not in the Paul Gascoigne sense but more in an attitude, an ego that will not allow him to be second fiddle and that appears ignorant to the fact that many of the troubles that befall him are self-inflicted.
After last season Tottenham wanted Adebayor on a permanent basis in the summer. Adebayor stated he wanted to join Tottenham but what should have been a relatively straightforward move was protracted. Money seemed the issue. A deal was reported finalized only for negotiations to continue with rumours over signing on fees and salary before Adebayor eventually signed on August 21.
The upshot was Adebayor missed all of Spurs’ pre-season. Coach André Villas-Boas had no option but to turn to Jermain Defoe and Defoe responded with goals. Adebayor was benched, not match fit and soon injured. He was unhappy and stories started appearing about him being sold in January, then about his international future ahead of AFCON 2013.
Adebayor had retired from Togo duty before, understandably after the gun attack ordeal on the Togo team in 2010 that left three dead. He reversed his decision in November 2011, only to retire again late last year over apparent unpaid bonuses. All issues eventually seemed to be resolved and Adebayor committed to go only for further stories to appear that he had changed his mind, this time because the originally announced squad had changed.
There was also the issue of his club. Despite his poor season, despite being unable to plan for months because his indecision over going to South Africa, Spurs announced Adebayor’s departure with their blessing.
Will Adebayor’s presence help Togo? Probably, but it may be a surprise if they make it out of the group stage - their record is ordinary at best. They are ranked only 17th in Africa, and had to battle past Gabon in a play-off to qualify. Adebayor is without doubt the star of the team but how he and coach Didier Six will interact remains to be seen. It would be interesting to know how the Togo fans see him, as a star or a Prima Donna?
Will Adebayor’s absence help Tottenham? Probably. Adebayor has been out form and struggling in matches even though Villas-Boas has gone to a 4-4-2 to play him. Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson have found themselves sidelined as a result, despite looking to have come back into form themselves.
In Adebayor’s absence, the expectation would be for Spurs to go back to 4-2-3-1, with the American or Icelander replacing the Togolese. Spurs may find themselves a better balanced team, with players coming into better form.
Tottenham will hope Adebayor can find some form in South Africa. Even so his form now is immaterial. Whether because of ego or insecurities, Adebayor appears a man who has to be centre of attention. This constant demand has brought conflict with previous managers and clubs, and the same looks to be happening at Spurs.
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