The Premier League’s forgotten man has finally found himself a new club. After four months in the wilderness since being released by Tottenham Hotspur, Emmanuel Adebayor has finally found a home under Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace on a six-month deal.
Since falling firmly out of favour at Spurs last season, with Mauricio Pochettino establishing Harry Kane as his sole striker, the Togo international hasn’t rushed into finding a new club. After spending the previous ten seasons in the Premier League, it was unsurprising to hear his name linked with a few of the top flight clubs looking to bolster their goalscoring threat.
The Eagles have enjoyed a decent start in the Premier League but have struggled for goals, a weakness that is further highlighted in the goal records of their other frontmen as Connor Wickham, Dwight Gayle, Frazier Campbell and Marouane Chamakh only have one league goal between them. The poor return of others means the ex-Man City and Arsenal man has the opportunity to be the club's go-to frontman.
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Looking back over Adebayor’s track record, which boasts 96 goals in 230 appearances, it seems clear that the striker thrives on being the main man and perhaps relishes the responsibility of being his team’s chief goal threat. His goal scoring contributions have fluctuated quite significantly from season to season in relation to how much competition there is for his place in the side.
For example, in moving to Arsenal in January 2006, he joined a side that was spearheaded by Thierry Henry, not an easy man to better. He was then one of three main strikers in his first full season in 06/07, sharing the load with Henry and Robin van Persie as he managed 12 goals in 42 league appearances over the course of his first season and a half.
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It was only in 07/08 that we saw Adebayor really come to the fore. With Henry leaving for Barcelona in the summer and Van Persie spending an increasing amount of time on the sidelines, the Togo man stepped up to the challenge of providing the Gunners’ firepower as he bagged an impressive 24 goals in 36 games.
Lo and behold, 08/09 saw the return of Van Persie plus the addition of Nicolas Bendtner and, subsequently, Adebayor’s contribution dipped to 10 goals in 26 games.
Manchester City came calling in the summer of 2009, signing him and Carlos Tevez for around £25 million each. Again, Adebayor was in the company of a world-class striker and often played second fiddle to the Argentine but he still managed a respectable return of 14 goals in 26 games.
That debut season wasn’t built upon though as City signed another two strikers to add to the threat of Tevez by signing Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko. Once again, Adebayor wasn’t anywhere near being their first choice which resulted in a brief loan at Real Madrid before a 2011 switch to White Hart Lane.
The pattern was to continue at Spurs as he was paired with Jermain Defoe in his first season, amassing 17 goals in the League and finishing as the club’s top scorer for the season.
Enter Gareth Bale.
The 2012/13 season saw the Welsh Wizard take on the mantle of getting the goals for Spurs along with Defoe and again, as an unsurprising consequence, Adebayor only managed to bag five in the league. The rest of striker’s time with Tottenham followed much the same pattern barring a period under Tim Sherwood.
The departure of Andre Villas-Boas saw Sherwood appointed as their manager and he looked to Adebayor to get the goals that Roberto Soldado hadn’t managed.
Sherwood made Adebayor his main man and got the best out of him by doing so as he finished the season with a goal ratio of one every 1.9 games.
Another change in manager and the rise of Harry Kane eventually rendered Adebayor surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane but, providing he still has the appetite, the frontman must be licking his lips at the opportunity given to him by Alan Pardew.
Pardew didn’t do much in the way of hiding his interest in Adebayor before signing him which can only be a good sign for a man looking to re-establish himself within the Premier League.
Now that he’s 31, he will probably have to accept that his days of playing for one of the more fashionable sides are numbered but, with the right man-management and a willingness to focus, Crystal Palace could have found exactly what they need.