Is Adebayor worth the risk?

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When the mood suits, Emmanuel Adebayor can be an incredible striker. Two goals for Tottenham in last weekend's 3-1 Premier League victory over Swansea at White Hart Lane took the Togolese star's tally to 14 goals in 30 appearances this season.

The 28-year-old is enjoying an impressive season-long loan spell in north London, scoring and creating goals, and playing the sort of target man role that Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has for so long been searching for.

A brief stint at Real Madrid between January and May 2011 also went some way to recovering Adebayor's damaged reputation as one of Europe's most predatory forwards, with a return of eight goals in 22 appearances.

He signed off with a hat-trick on the final day of the 2010-11 La Liga season, leading to calls for Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho to make the African's temporary move to the Santiago Bernabeu permanent.

A transfer to Spain failed to materialise, and Adebayor was allowed to join Tottenham on loan at the start of the 2011-12 campaign, after failing to build bridges with Citizens boss Roberto Mancini following their falling out last year.

The Italian axed Adebayor from City's pre-season tour of ­America and made him train with the reserves, opting instead to keep faith in Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko, whilst also completing the £38million signing of Sergio Aguero.

But, with Tevez missing for most of the campaign, and looking off the pace as the crucial end of season run-in approaches, and Dzeko having failed to score for the past seven games, Mancini's attacking woes have been added to with Aguero sidelined due to a freak injury, and Balotelli becoming a liability.

Now there are concerns that the decision to axe Adebayor could cost Manchester City the title. A popular character in the dressing room, his teammates were genuinely sad to see him loaned out, and have been impressed by his all-round contribution at Spurs.

When things are good, it's true that Adebayor brings a lot to whichever team he is turning out for. Saying and doing the right things. But, a word of caution. When things are bad, there are few more frustrating players, who have proven equally difficult to handle.

Just ask fans of Arsenal, the club where Adebayor first arrived on the Premier League scene. After Arsene Wenger paid £7million to bring him to England from Monaco, "Baby Kanu" as he was affectionately nicknamed due to his resemblance to former Gunners star Nwankwo Kanu, set about establishing himself as a long-term replacement for a player he used to idolise as a youth.

Three-and-a-half years on the red side of north London ended on a sour note, after the African ace forced through a £26million move to Manchester, signing a lucrative five-year deal with the newly-rich Arab-owned club.

If his lack of loyalty wasn't enough, Adebayor further angered Arsenal fans when he famously ran the length of the City pitch to celebrate his goal in front of the visiting supporters in a 4-2 Premier League victory, just one month after completing his controversial exit.

Earlier this week, Rafael van der Vaart urged the Tottenham board to tie up a permanent deal for the former Gunners frontman, but a potential sticking point is Adebayor's astronomical wage demands; he earns around £170,000-a-week at the Etihad Stadium, and has hinted he would be unwilling to take a significant pay-cut to fall in line with Spurs' current wage structure.

Redknapp is good at managing egos, and has got the best out of Adebayor thus far. But what happens if there is increased competition for places, and he is no longer guaranteed his place in the team?

Daniel Levy hasn't established a reputation as one of the most shrewd Premier League chairman in the business for nothing, and surely he will be cautious of sending Tottenham spiraling into financial despair by agreeing a deal of anything close to what Adebayor wants.

It would lift the club's salary ceiling by nearly double, and risk creating a queue of players demanding to double their own salaries. As reliable as he's been in his first nine months at White Hart Lane, is Adebayor really worth the gamble?

Tottenham Hotspur
Emmanuel Adebayor
Manchester City
Premier League

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