Emmanuel Adebayor’s imminent move to Manchester City will do the striker’s reputation no favours among Arsenal fans. However accusations of a lack of effort could not be more superficial.
Emmanuel Adebayor is set to become the latest high profile forward to join the Manchester City steam train after Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez. Interestingly enough, all bar Santa Cruz have left in what would be considered unsatisfactory terms with either or both club and fans.
Signing for City will undoubtedly raise the issue of it being ‘all about money’ and for a small part it is. But for Adebayor part of it is escaping the cold relationship which he has with the fans.
He worked very hard in the first two seasons to get on the right side of the Arsenal faithful but seem to undo the 30-goal good work all in one summer of 2008. In back to back interviews, he reaffirmed his loyalty to Arsenal before throwing that in doubt by not actually saying he wants to leave, but saying anything can happen. Kissing his badge after a goal in pre-season only got a muted applause while all season he spoke of being positive in interviews when Arsenal’s season was not going well. The interview with BBC Football Focus seemed to signal that his love for the Gunners was becoming more difficult to maintain because of the negative vibes among some fans. Accusations of a lack of effort seem rather superficial and ironically rather lazy. After all it is all opinion and no one actually knows what Adebayor is thinking.
Nevertheless Arsenal will be looking into the future as the deal looks ever more likely. The biggest issue reportedly to come out of the Adebayor and City meeting was that for Arsenal to develop further they needed the cash. Marouane Chamakh is on Wenger’s wish list and the Moroccan seems a good fit for Arsenal. Similar to Fernando Torres minus, at the moment the finishing, Chamakh likes to play on the shoulder of the defender and works the channels very well.
In 2004, Arsene Wenger signed Jose Antonio Reyes with the thinking that the Spaniard will eventually be the benefactor of Arsenal’s creativity because of his darting runs. Unfortunately that didn’t work out but with the signing of Adebayor two years later, the Gunners sought to get the best of two worlds; Adebayor likes to spring the offside trap but as teams defended deeper and his own understanding never really got better, never fully took best advantage. He could also double up as a target man allowing for greater fluidity. Modern strikers must be all-round players hence the decreasing number of traditional goalpoachers.
What Adebayor really craves is creativity and flexibility. Critics point to his goalscoring record last season of 10 compared to season 2007/08 where he scored 24 league goals. However in that side he had the services of Hleb, Rosicky and Fabregas for much of the season while the campaign after, the Gunners were more disjointed. The creative wide men owe much to Arsenal’s pass and move style and with them missing, decreased both the creativity and fluidity. Like Henry, Adebayor likes to drift wide and in the instance he does, the effectiveness of the move would increase if there was someone who could take up his vacated position. That would be the biggest criticism of Adebayor; he lacks the tactical understanding on the pitch as he would be far better off sticking to the centre more where most of the play is, rather than looking to make something happen away from the goal. Leaving Arsenal without finishing his football education under Wenger, just as Reyes did is not the smartest of moves.
But some fans misconstrue the lack of impact as a lack of effort. In the Champions League semi final first leg at United, Adebayor was involved in a good move but as the chance came to him, hurriedly rushed a shot over in an attempt to desperately get a goal back. Emmanuel Adebayor is a player who gives it his all but is misunderstood by not only fans but himself also.
Emmanuel Adebayor Premier League Stats
|Minutes per Goal||188||122||373||252|