Emmanuel Adebayor – Tottenham’s elephant in the room

It has been an expansive summer in the transfer market for Tottenham, with a plethora of new faces for the club’s fans to become accustomed to. With deadwood also being shipped out as the White Hart Lane revolution takes hold, one player whose future seemed firmly up in the air was Emmanuel Adebayor.

A top-class, clinical, consistent striker has been on Spurs’ wishlist for longer than the club would care to remember. Adebayor was deemed to be just that 24 months ago, but the summer signing of Roberto Soldado has left the Togolese forward on the outskirts.

The Spaniard will play as the lone frontman in André Villas-Boas’ side more often than not, with Jermain Defoe chomping at the bit to get opportunities to play and impress in a World Cup year. The English forward is not trusted 100 per cent to be the man to fire the club back into the top four, but has the natural finishing ability to change a game from the bench if required.

But what of Adebayor? An impressive debut campaign at the north London club while on loan from Manchester City showed the White Hart Lane faithful just what he is capable of when in the mood, and a permanent transfer from the Etihad Stadium followed last summer.

Last season Adebayor took time to get fully fit and was guilty of inconsistent performances. With only five Premier League goals to boot, it must be deemed as an underwhelming return from the African attacker. It appeared that he was only getting up to speed towards the end of the campaign, but it seems like it was too-little, too-late.

Adebayor was one of those players linked with a move away from Tottenham over the summer, and despite interest from the continent, a transfer failed to materialise. Reports of opportunities to join Schalke and Besiktas have been publicised, but Adebayor has claimed that he never had any notion of leaving.

“I decided with my manager, even before the start of the transfer window that I would not leave Tottenham and that’s what I did,” he has said recently.

“I have never thought of leaving Spurs. I am here, my family feels great here and I do not see myself in another city.”

Regardless of suggestions that he will spend the bulk of this campaign on the sidelines, Adebayor continued by stating that he intends to win his place in the team’s starting XI back.

“Today I will not tell you that I ‘m stronger than Soldado or Defoe or Lamela.

“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.”

Emmanuel Adebayor and André Villas-BoasThe former Manchester City attacker’s motivations for staying in north London are certainly questionable. It took painstaking negotiations with the player to bring him to White Hart Lane in the first place, largely based around wages. City must claim some responsibility for forging the problem after offering him a bumper pay day to move to Manchester, and Spurs had to push their financial boundaries to finalise a deal to sign him.

Now, as one of Tottenham’s top earners, he is obviously reluctant to take a pay cut and although suitors are there, they are unable to replicate his current remuneration. As such, Adebayor is going nowhere.

Tottenham will be very reluctant to have one of their highest-paid players rotting away in the reserves and as such there is every chance that Adebayor could well be back in the first-team picture soon. On his day his physical attributes prove a thorn in the side of opposition defenders and he could well be an asset that Spurs could use.

One of André Villas-Boas’ biggest challenges this term is the management of his star-studded squad, with not enough room in the starting XI to keep everyone happy. Adebayor has the biggest ego of them all, and has the ability to impact on dressing room harmony.

If he is happy, shown love and playing, he can be a big character and a positive force in driving the club forward. If he is not managed properly and feels isolated, his negativity could counter-act the positive vibes around White Hart Lane at the moment and the Togo international could certainly be the elephant in the room.

For the time being it appears that Adebayor will be staying at Tottenham. Villas-Boas’ managing of his personality will be critical to dressing room morale, whether the striker is playing a part in the first-team or not. If he returns to form and fitness, the African forward could yet be a valuable asset for Spurs, regardless of the big-money signings that have arrived at the club this summer.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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