With two weeks to go until Tottenham face their season opener up at Newcastle, to say we are lightweight up front is an understatement. The only recognised strikers on the books are Jermain Defoe and the youngster Harry Kane. While I admired Spain playing with a false number 9 in the Euro’s, I don’t think it is realistic to expect Spurs to play it with the same level of impact!
It has been widely reported that a deal for Adebayor is likely to be in place, as long as some obstacles can be overcome. The stumbling block is the astronomical salary that Adebayor has become accustomed to and how the shortfall in salary with a move to Spurs will be overcome.
Spurs fans appear to have split opinions on Adebayor. I am firmly of the belief that he is an exceptional player and he was vital to us securing a top 4 position last season. As long as we are able to come to a reasonable agreement that doesn’t disrupt the wage structure, we should be doing everything in our powers to secure the Togolese hitman on a permanent basis.
Adebayor finished as our top scorer last season with 17 goals. Without some dodgy refereeing/linesman decisions, he would have broken the 20 goal barrier. One of the criticisms that is often levelled at Adebayor, and one that I fully agree with is that his finishing is often poor. Last season he had a shooting accuracy of 53% and a chance conversion of 19%. If he can score 17 goals with poor finishing imagine what he could produce with a bit of extra time on the training pitch. In the past Adebayor has scored for fun against Spurs – it made a pleasant change watching him put the ball in the net for, and not against us.
Adebayor: Adding so much more
Aside from the goals, Adebayor was instrumental in our overall play. He held the ball up well bringing others into play and was the target man we have cried out for; for years. He had some exceptional performances where he was unplayable (Liverpool and Newcastle at home stand out for me), but I can’t deny there were also some off games. He particularly didn’t seem to enjoy his time on Merseyside with less than impressive displays against Everton and Liverpool where he was largely anonymous. There is no doubting though that Adebayor was a major plus point for us last season.
The table below looks at Adebayor’s creativity stats against those of the other attacking players in the Tottenham team. By all accounts they are pretty impressive. As well as being the top scorer, he also had the most assists with 11, one ahead of Bale and 4 more than one of our most creative attacking players in Van der Vaart. All in all he created an impressive 49 chances from open play, with only Modric (65) and Bale (62) creating more chances from open play.
Importance to the team
With Adebayor being our top scorer and also top assistor, it is evident that he was vitally important to the team. To put this in context I have compared this to strikers from the other teams that made up last season’s top 6. The players looked at are Aguero, Rooney, Van Persie, Ba and Torres. Demba Ba was chosen ahead of Papiss Cisse as he was at Newcastle for the whole season and Torres was selected ahead of Drogba as he played more minutes, scored more goals and had more assists – essentially a more influential player for Chelsea (in the league) than he is maybe given credit for.
It has been well documented how vital Van Persie was to Arsenal, but not so much has been made of Adebayor’s contribution to Spurs. The table above shows that Adebayor contributed to 28 of Tottenham’s goals. This is less that Van Persie, Rooney and Aguero (and Adebayor took longer to contribute) but if we look at this is terms of contribution to total team goals, Adebayor is 2nd to only Van Persie. Van Persie contributed to (scored or assisted) over half of Arsenal’s goals (52.7%) while Adebayor contributed to 42.4% of Tottenham’s total goals.
If Van Persie leaves Arsenal as is widely expected, everyone has already said he will leave a huge void. If Tottenham fail to secure the permanent transfer for Adebayor, his contribution to the team will be equally missed.
I for one hope that something gets sorted out sooner rather than later.