Since the end of last season media reports have linked Redknapp with around 20 strikers alone, from the relatively unknown Soulemayne Coulibaly, the 16-year-old forward bought from Siena, to players the repute of Didier Drogba, Diego Forlan and Giuseppe Rossi. The list also includes Premier League players like Dimitar Berbatov, Bobby Zamora and Daniel Sturridge, and stars from the continent, such as Porto’s Hulk, Mauro Zarate of Lazio and Romelu Lukaku, the Anderlecht striker who eventually joined Chelsea. While pre-season may also be silly season as far as transfer rumours go, the sheer mass of strikers linked to Tottenham suggests Redknapp has been desperate to increase his side’s firepower, confirmed by the potential loan signing of Adebayor.
The reason behind Redknapp’s pursuit of some of the continent’s most dangerous strikers is clearly seen in the statistics. Last season, Spurs’ four senior strikers – Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko – managed 33 goals between them in all competitions. The year before, that total was 56. Not even the arrival of Rafael van der Vaart and the 15 goals that came with him could account for such a drop in productivity and Spurs’ league form duly suffered. After finishing fourth in 2009-10, winning 21 games and scoring 67 goals, 2010-11 saw Spurs win only 16 games, finding the net on 55 occasions, and end the campaign out of the Champions League, in fifth place, trailing Arsenal by six points.
Whether Adebayor will prove the answer to Tottenham’s goal scoring problems remains to be seen, and is dependent on the two sides agreeing a loan deal. The reported terms of such a move would see the clubs splitting Adebayor’s £170,000 per week wages equally, leaving Spurs paying £85,000, thought to be more than their current highest-earner receives but still an affordable sum. The question of Adebayor’s Arsenal past is not really a stumbling block – Spurs’ squad already contains two former Gunners, William Gallas and David Bentley, so a third should not rile anyone. Rather, the overriding issue is a football one – can Adebayor score the goals Spurs need to regain their top four place?
Adebayor found the net five times for Manchester City last season – including a Europa League hat-trick – before joining Real Madrid on loan in January. Once in Spain, Adebayor netted a further seven, giving him a total of 12 for the season, enough to put him above Keane, Crouch and Defoe on last year’s figures and only two behind Pavlyuchenko. Combined with the 46 league goals scored in Arsenal’s colours – in only 104 appearances – and Adebayor has a strong track record, enough perhaps to ease Redknapp’s frustration and fire Tottenham back into the top four.