Is Adebayor's stop-start season ever going to take off?

Posted by Dan Fitch

I thought that Emmanuel Adebayor was terrific for Spurs last season. He held the ball up superbly, brought others into play and worked the channels. Good in the air and with his feet, Adebayor brought both height and pace to the attack.

The on-loan striker wasn't Spurs best player last season (although he'd certainly be in the top half-dozen), but was their most important. Without him, the team simply didn't function.

Yet, despite the fact that I rated his performances so highly last season, I was still caught in two minds as to whether Tottenham should have signed him during the summer. First there was the inflated wage he was on at Manchester City. Even halved, it would be at the top end of Spurs salary scale and I wondered if the money wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere.

Then there was his past record at clubs. Adebayor played well at Arsenal until he decided that he wanted a move and then downed tools. Having got his move to Manchester City he started brightly, only for the apathy to seemingly kick in again. What was to say that having won a move to Spurs, the novelty wouldn’t wear off again?

By the time Spurs eventually did sign Adebayor, I was ready to forget my misgivings. I’d anticipated they would sign him in addition to another shiny new striker. I clearly hadn’t learned from previous recent transfer windows and we ended up starting the season with just Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane available to play up front.

By all reports, Adebayor arrived at Spurs somewhat out of shape having spent the summer enjoying himself in America. He immediately got injured and hasn’t really managed to establish himself in the team since.

Having returned from injury, he found Defoe in great form and difficult to dislodge. Then, when Andre Villas-Boas switched to 4-4-2 to accommodate Adebayor, he promptly got himself sent off and banned for three games.

Since returning from suspension Adebayor has played a lot, without making too much of an impact. Goals have been scarce and his presence seems to have upset the rhythm of Defoe. Luckily, the results have generally been good enough to paper over the cracks and negate the fact neither of Spurs' strikers are scoring.

Saturday's game against QPR will be the last that Adebayor is available for before he departs for the Africa Cup of Nations. Having previously claimed that he wouldn’t play in the tournament and done a last minute U-turn, it will be interesting to see whether AVB picks him, or if he's annoyed the manager sufficiently to drop him to the bench.

During Adebayor’s absence, Defoe will be Spurs' only senior striker. Much like the loan of Danny Rose, I find it baffling that Kane was sent off to Norwich. With Grant Holt at the club, Kane was always going to struggle for regular starts there anyway and has picked up more in the way of injuries than experience.

There is hope, of course, in the form of the January transfer window. There are a few good options such as Fernando Llorente, Loic Remy and Leandro Damiao. January isn’t the ideal time to do business and I wouldn’t put my house on Spurs signing anyone, but you would certainly hope that they're looking to do a deal.

Because if Defoe gets injured Spurs are in big trouble. Clint Dempsey is not a striker and they really shouldn't be in a position where progress this season could be jeopardised through lack of numbers. This isn’t a new problem. Spurs never really replaced Dimitar Berbatov properly, despite the fact the actual Berbatov was available for a bargain fee this summer.

If Spurs do sign a new striker, and/or Defoe excels again in the lone role, then you have to question what it would mean for Adebayor. His stop/start season could very soon become a right-off and he could once again find himself looking for another club in the summer. It would be a real shame if such a talented player never truly found a place that he could call 'home'.

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