Lots of speculation surrounded the role of Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor this offseason. The Togolese player was linked with Fenerbache and Schalke and just generally seen as expendable following the acquisition of Spanish striker Roberto Soldado from Valencia. Adebayor, however, says he won't be going anywhere.
"No, I stay until the end of the season."
"You learned about Schalke because it was in the press but there were many clubs that wanted me and whose proposals were still on the table. "But 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. I have never thought of leaving Spurs. I am here, my family feels great here and I do not see myself in another city."
In the same interview, Adebayor elaborated on his summer preparations were interrupted by the death of his brother Peter and how he has been coping with the loss. He also addressed speculation that he was training with the reserves as some sort of punishment.
"In the life of every footballer there are always ups and downs but I’m not complaining. It all started well in pre-season. We flew to Hong Kong [for a pre-season tournament] and there I learned the news of the death of my brother, so my morale took a hit. I went back for the funeral. I had a very difficult time."
"When I went back to Tottenham, I talked to the coach and he told me that I was not ready yet for the pro group. I had to go to work in the reserves for two to three weeks to regain my confidence, my sense of goal, etc . . . And I complied with his advice."
"Was it a punishment? Not at all. I’m not at a training centre to get punished by my coach. There has been no argument.
"I have been playing professional football for 11 years and my brother’s death was a blow to me in recent weeks but since then I found my spirits. I will find my feelings and my place in the group."
Adebayor went on to praise Tottenham for the acquisitions in attack and to say that he is happy to compete for his place. The player stated that he has dealt with competition for spots his entire career and that he is more than happy to continue to do so.
"There are stats that speak for a man in football. Today I will not tell you that I’m stronger than Soldado or Defoe or Lamela. Do a Google search, you will see the goals I’ve scored in my career."
"We are now 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 that is the most important."
"Two years ago, I was top scorer and best passer at the club. Last season was not great, it is true. I do not want to relive that this season but there is no revenge or anything. This season, I have not started yet but rest assured that when I start I will be working very hard."
It's good to see that Adebayor acknowledges the need to work on and move on from last year. I think I may be in the minority here, but I think a healthy and interested Adebayor is equally as effective as Roberto Soldado. If nothing else, Adebayor offers a different type of play than Soldado and Jermain Defoe do and his inclusion in the squad will be essential to keeping opponents off balance.
It's good to know that Adebayor has been training with the club, I'm not sure many of us knew that he was doing that. Now that he's back training with the first team I expect it won't take long for him to be included in the squad. Some run-outs in the Europa League will probably be on the cards before he gets significant time in the Premier League.
I see Adebayor's role this season as being similar to Romelu Lukaku's last season for West Brom. I think Soldado will get a majority of the starts and the Spaniard will be allowed to play 60 or 70 minutes moving around, dragging defenders out of position and generally wearing them down. Then Adebayor will be brought on to use his power and decent pace to bully his way into scoring or setting up a few goals. That certainly seems like a system that could be particularly effective for Spurs.