Adebayor – What Will Future Bring?
After a summer of postulating, mainly on the part of his agent, Adebayor is back training with Arsenal in Austria.
Last season saw the Togolese striker score 30 goals for Arsenal, a feat that neither the player nor his manager could have envisaged at the start of the season. Whilst some of his goals, 6, were against the Premier League whipping boys, Derby County, others were goals of pure magic. The goal at White Hart Lane and the one against Newcastle at St. James Park were tow exceptional goals.
Adebayor scored goals consistently, in a season that saw his tow principal strike partners van Persie and Eduardo both injured for long spells. His goals varied from headers, long-range shots, from mazy runs to sublime finishes; clearly, he is a striker that cannot be labelled a trick pony. It is for this reason that many pundits and more to the point many defenders do not like playing against Adebayor. They are not sure what he is going to do when the ball arrives.
Adebayor is not the finished article by a long way, sometimes his first touch lets him down, and some of his shooting can be wayward. These can be improved on the training field. Apart from one petulant moment involving Arsenal’s new “enfant terrible” Bendtner, Adebayor showed signs of discontent last season. It makes you wonder what the hidden agendas of the agents are.
Season 2008/09 will be a telling time for Adebayor, clearly, Wenger believes in him and has hopes that he will not only emulate last season’s scoring but also exceed it, but doe Adebayor? If he gets his head out of the clouds and stops thinking of Barcelona and AC Milan, he can sit down with the manager and agree that if he keeps up his good form, then next summer he will be the first player to be rewarded with an improved contract.
This season, he will have more competition for the starting spot. If van Persie and Eduardo get fit and stay fit, they will both push the Togolese hit man as will the Great Dane Bendtner. Add to these players Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott and any striker picked by Wenger knows that if you fail to score or perform, then there are several players waiting to take your place. This is a situation not faced by Adebayor. Last season either van Persie or Eduardo were always out injured, meaning that when Adebayor was going through a lean spell, Wenger had no alternative than to play him. How will Adebayor cope with being dropped and seeing the strikers that have come in for him score goals and keep their places? If he runs off the media complaining, then this man does not have the stomach for a fight and will be sold next summer. If on the other hand he knuckles down and wins his place back, then he is a player to be kept.
In his short time at Arsenal he has improved every year, it is this attitude that will ingratiate him to the fans. Adebayor has the potential to be a player more feared than Drogba, but he has a long way to go before he can be compared to his friend Thierry Henry. Arsenal fans will forgive him for his agent’s summer madness if come back and performs as he did last season, if he returns with the attitude of a player who has achieved everything and Arsenal should be grateful to have him at the club, then the fans will quickly turn on him.