Adebayor can still be Tottenham's hotspur

It’s hard to ignore the persistent stories that Tottenham Hotspur are looking to strengthen their strike force in the close season.

If they do it is likely to mean curtains for the White Hart Lane career of Emmanuel Adebayor who is fast developing into a nomad and certainly running out of potential homes in England.

Adebayor is the quintessential Spurs player. His style fits in with Tottenham’s attack. He drifts all over the field, making himself an option for the whole team. He usually holds up the ball well, he has a good touch and is intelligent with his distribution, feeding the midfield.
 
Yet this season he’s been pretty poor for most of it.

It seems he doesn’t really put everything in. This season his desire to score goals has been questionable. How many times has Gareth Bale driven to the bye-line and Adebayor is simply roaming around the penalty spot, not really alert.
 
An example is a recent chance against Swansea. Clear through only to push tamely into the goalkeeper. He never looked like scoring.
 
His disappointing form is many things, not least of them predictable. Adebayor's career tends to divide sharply into those periods where he needs to impress people and those where he doesn't.

Since arriving in England, there have been five major “deals” in Adebayor’s career: a new long-term contract at Arsenal in 2008; a move to Manchester City a year later; loan moves to Real Madrid and Tottenham.

If you put last season’s Spurs loan move into context it was essentially a long audition for a permanent place at Spurs. He played well and scored regularly, earning a move away from City.
 
How about some stats? Look at the eight league and European games that followed each of those five career landmarks and Adebayor is little better than decent – 14 goals in 40 games.

But in the eight games leading up to each of those lucrative deals he is a world beater with 27 goals.

Adebayor’s strike rate doubles when he has a sniff of that new contract.

Statistical anomaly or cold, hard truth? If not money, what is it that motivates Adebayor?

Spurs boss Villas-Boas reckons Adebayor is not short of confidence and is as ambitious as any player in his squad.

“We have an excellent relationship,” said Villas-Boas. “Players react differently but in the end they go by their own motivation and their own personal ambitions and the team’s ambitions.

“They don’t need to be reminded of that. Ade is self-confident and we are here to help him. We give a lot to our players to try to improve them and Ade is no exception.”

Adebayor remains a popular team player in the dressing room and is one of the central figures at the Tottenham training ground.

His team-mates have every reason to shun him, of course, but they do not. His late return from the African Nations Cup cost them his services in the starting line-up against Newcastle when their only other striker, Jermain Defoe, was injured.

In the last international break in March it worked the other way around. Togo were expecting him for a World Cup qualifier against Cameroon but he failed to turn up.

His international manager Didier Six was less than impressed. “Don’t ask me about Adebayor. That question should be directed to the FA,” he snapped. “He interests me if he remains a player. He is a fantastic footballer but I can only call him up if he concentrates on football.”

Moreover, as one insider at Tottenham put it: “Whatever he’s done, it will make sense in his own mind. He will explain why it was he could not play and he will be convincing.”

It’s all a bit sad, as Adebayor is a unique and special talent when he can find it within himself to care.

Somehow, someone needs to find a way of “unlocking the potential”, as Andre Villas-Boas put it in February, which lies within the enigma.

One way might be to tell him there is a new contract waiting for him.

Then again all the transfer talk might also inspire him as he realises he might be shown the door at the end of the season

If Spurs do let him go what are his options? There is no where for him to go in England so it will be goodbye to the Premier League because wages will be a huge stumbling block.

In France he’s already been at Monaco and anyway their tax free status is under threat and Paris Saint Germain won’t be tempted.

How about Turkey? The right players earn big bucks and can still offer Champions League football. It’s a demanding environment in front of volatile fans which would demand a greater show of commitment and passion.

The other two options are Russia or doing a ‘Gyan’ and heading for the UAE.

For all except the UAE the audition begins now which is good news for Spurs fans either way.

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