Defoe's injury and Levy's transfer window failure is a blessing in disguise

Michael Regan

No Defoe? No Damiao? No problem. Adebayor's earned his chance to fill the lone striker role at Spurs.

Jermain Defoe looks to be sidelined anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and the ever-elusive Leandro Damiao has once again slipped through Daniel Levy's fingers. As the January transfer window inched shut, many of you wailed and tore your hair and gnashed your teeth, clamoring for Levy to sign literally anybody who nominally plays the role of "striker". I think I even heard at least one half-serious request for a return of Louis Saha.

But fear not, none of your lamentations are necessary. Adebayor is ready to step into the breach. And it's the best thing that could happen to us.

Last summer it was widely acknowledged among the Spurs faithful that Jermain Defoe did not have the tools to succeed as the sole striker in AVB's preferred lineup. In spite of his deficiencies, Defoe rose to the challenge and performed rather admirably in a role he is ill-suited for. But despite his early season excellence, his goals have dried up, and Defoe looks back to the square peg in a round hole we all knew him to be. Nobody's all that surprised, since nobody expected a whole lot out of him in the first place, but it left us without a spearhead to our attack.

We begged for a world class striker in January, but it didn't come off. After Spurs shocked the world by failing to sign Leandro Damiao (who was never going to sign, and will never sign, by the way), we were linked with a host of stopgap measures. And people seemed eager to snap them up. Bafetimbi Gomis. Gary Hooper. Lisandro Lopez. Precisely none of those players are better than Emmanuel Adebayor.

Adebayor scored 17 goals and assisted a further 11 last year, yet after a few lackluster appearances this season, most Spurs fans seem to treat him as the second coming of Fernando Torrid (the bad version). Yet this notion is not only silly and misguided, it's completely baseless.

Adebayor has only started two matches this season as the lone frontman in our preferred 4-2-3-1. He looked excellent in his first start against Man City, and everyone cheered in relief to finally see a proper striker leading the line. And then he looked great in his first twenty minutes against Arsenal, before something happened that I don't recall but for some reason I didn't see him for the rest of the match.

And since then, every single time he's taken the field, he's played in a 4-4-2 alongside Jermain Defoe. And he wasn't good. And Spurs weren't good. And the results weren't good.

If Defoe hadn't just gotten injured, Adebayor's return from the African Cup would in all likelihood have seen AVB misguidedly attempt to force them back into a 4-4-2. It's understandable - AVB clearly has a lot of respect for Defoe as a player - but it's hurting the team.

So it's time to let him play alone up top. Where he belongs.

Until Adebayor has a run of games in his preferred position, any talk writing him off is absolutely ludicrous. We saw last year how well he worked in harness with Rafa van der Vaart, a creative, goalscoring attacking midfielder. Lo and behold, Adebayor returns to Spurs to find a younger, harder-working version has arrived in Lewis Holtby. A string of starts should see Ade return to the form that made him our first choice striker last season. By the time Defoe comes back from injury, there will be no question that our best lineup is the 4-2-3-1. With Defoe on the bench.

Adebayor has earned the chance to lead the line like he did last year, and now that he's the only fit senior striker at Spurs, AVB has no choice but to give it to him. And we're better off for it.

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