On Tuesday Emmanual Adebayor joined Tottenham Hotspur to finally put an end to his three long years as a Manchester City player. In a cut price deal, Spurs captured the signature of the Togolese striker for a reported £5 million.
Roberto Mancini and the City collective breathed a huge sigh of relief when the news of the transfer filtered through. At City, Adebayor made 34 appearances and scored 15 goals during three years, one and half years of which were spent out on loan to Real Madrid and Spurs. The last time he played for City was in December 2010 against Red Bull Salzburg. With reports of training ground bust ups and a horrendous terrorist attack, his tenure at City was troubled. For the City fans, it will forever be soiled by his laziness and bad attitude; a disastrous, expensive failure.
That’s not to say it was always destined to be that way. Prior to his arrival at City, Adebayor had made a name for himself as one of the most fearsome strikers in the Premier League with Arsenal. Blessed with power, pace, height and skill he has all of the natural attributes to be a world beater; totally unplayable on his day. Just ask Rio Ferdinand.
Back in February 2008, Arsenal, with Adebayor in attack, came to Manchester to play City, winning the game 3-1, with Adebayor the chief destroyer, scoring two goals and showcasing all of his aforementioned natural attributes. I was dreaming that City would one day be able to sign such a talent (at the time City were owned by Thaksin Shinawatra and on the brink of financial ruin). Whether it was plucking balls out of the sky with his head or chest, laying off passes for his wingers or running at a ragged City defence, he was truly immense.
When City signed him in the summer of 2009 for £25 million (thanks to Sheikh Mansour’s millions) I was excited. Unfortunately for City, despite a promising start in which he struck six times in his first six matches, his City career soon turned sour, quickly becoming apparent that he only performs when he feels like it. Too often his performances gave the impression that he was arrogant and lazy, far from deserving his huge salary.
For me, Adebayor’s performance against Arsenal in the League Cup December 2009 epitomises why his career at City was such an epic failure. He laboured around the pitch looking as if he didn’t want to be there. For every goal kick that was targeted at him he did not once try to head the ball or lay it off for a team mate. City won the game 3-0 but Adebayor looked disinterested and useless: quite the opposite to his performance for Arsenal against City almost two years earlier.
To make matters worse, when on African Cup of Nations duty in Congo in January 2010, the Togo team bus was attacked by armed terrorists and Adebayor witnessed members of the Togo contigent die in the incident. Such incomprehensible horrors had an adverse effect on Adebayor and disrupted his season. The club were good to him and new boss Mancini allowed as much compassionate leave as was needed. In spite of this, Mancini’s patience was tested as Adebayor’s lazy mentality shone through and he soon became surplus to Mancini’s requirements. Mancini only selects those who give 100% and with many of the squad chomping a bit to play it was an easy decision for the him to drop Adebayor.
It is widely recognised that all of the world’s best players have a natural ability and a first class attitude. Sadly, Adebayor does not have the latter which in, my opinion, has tainted a wonderful talent. Since he last pulled on a City shirt it has taken one and half years to sell the want-away striker. In the meantime, he spent six months on loan at Real Madrid and then spent a full season at Spurs, where he showed glimpses of his huge potential and scored a commendable 17 goals in 33 appearances.
The refusal of Adebayor to take a wage cut from his huge £175,000 per week salary at City was the stumbling block that for so long threatened a permanent transfer away from City. Rumour has it he was unwilling to do so because he donates a lot of his wage to African charities. All very commendable but for someone earning just over £9 million per year it’s an absurd excuse.
Nevertheless, the protracted saga has now come to an end. Adebayor’s City mis-adventure is finally over. It is clear that Adebayor only performs when he wants to or when a manager tells him how good he is. I suspect that his good form for Spurs last season had a lot to do with Harry Redknapp’s personable management style. Whether Andre Villas-Boas, whose management ideology is all about the team, will give Adebayor the same lip service as Redknapp I am not so sure. What I will say is that I, like most City fans, am glad to see the back of him.