Arsene Wenger has signed the new Emmanuel Adebayor. That may be a sentence few Arsenal fans want to hear, but there is no escaping the fact that the Emirates enemy did great things during his time with the Gunners.
There is also no escaping the similarities the Tottenham outcast shares with Arsenal's latest goal scoring striker Yaya Sanogo. Having joined Arsenal in 2013, the young striker finally bagged his first goal for Arsenal against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night. He may have taken his first steps on a journey that could be similar to the one Adebayor took when he move to north London in 2006.
Joining Arsenal as a virtual unknown in English football, little was expected of the Togolese striker. Thierry Henry was still scoring goals for fun and the 21-year-old was expected to fulfill a role of understudy.
Like Sanogo does now, he appeared to play football as if he was wearing flip flops, but always looked capable of at least doing something positive. He held up the ball well, using his six foot, two inch frame to muscle defenders away from the ball. Although acceleration was an issue, few could catch him once he, belatedly, hit top speed.
He scored four goals in 12 starts during his first season, but missed a host of chances – some in comical fashion – in the process. But eventually Adebayor learnt to channel his natural gifts, becoming a forceful front man for the Gunners.
Adebayor's physical presence introduced a genuine target man into Wenger's system for the first time since he arrived at Arsenal. Football was moving on from 4-4-2 and Adebayor helped ease Arsenal's transition to 4-3-3. It is that same system that inspired the addition of Olivier Giroud and eventually Sanogo.
Adebayor's emergence made the sale of Thierry Henry to Barcelona much easier to swallow for Wenger. By the time the 2007/08 season rolled to an end, he had scored 24 goals in 32 starts with an impressive conversion rate of just under 25 per cent.
That was by far his best season in English football. Eventually, money told and he departed for Manchester City, never to surpass 20 goals in a single season again. Now a bit-part player at Tottenham, it is likely he never will.
Sanogo has all the qualities that Adebayor also possessed. Now the same age as Adebayor was when he joined Arsenal, Sanogo has plenty of time to turn himself from a laughing stock into a genuine star.
With so many technical players around him, Sanogo can be terrific asset to Arsenal. Holding up the ball and muscling into position is exactly the role Adebayor fulfilled so well, thriving under a very particular system. Giroud has also done well since arriving from Montpellier and there is no reason Sanogo cannot do the same.
It's a combination of pace and strength that drew Wenger to Sanogo in the first place. He has proved he can score goals at youth level with France, grabbing 39 for France U16's up to the U21s. Translating that to the Premier League won't be easy and injury problems are sure to slow down progress at some point, but the potential is there.
Adebayor was written off after his first six months at Arsenal and Sanogo has done little to inspire faith, but his first goal for the Gunners has proven that there is hope yet.
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