Let me be the first to say it: ‘Whoops’. Big f-ing ‘whoops’. Not five minutes after the June-27 article praising Adebayor for reiterating a ‘desire’ to play for Arsenal was published, that same player did a flipflop not seen in football in eons.
This is not the first mistake I’ve made, nor will it be the last. I was wrong on the Adebayor count, and what pains me even more is how quickly it became evident. So let’s get that out of the way first: Jammathon was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong about Emmanuel Adebayor’s intentions.
But where to start? It was the third time (on my count) that Adebayor had refuted the rumours abounding about his future. He did seem to relish scoring against Spurs quite often, and his body language (since everyone seems to love reading that) in particularly the Liverpool match in the Champions League seemed to me that this player genuinely enjoyed playing for us.
Who knows, perhaps he did. But now something really vile has occured, not just in Arsenal’s world, but in the footballing world in general.
Player power has reached a sickening zenith that not even the doom-mongers in Bosman’s time could have imagined. I believed that if Adebayor was really going to go, it would take one hell of a contradiction to put all he had said about Arsenal previously to the wayside.
And it was one hell of a contradiction that did it. In less than an hour, all manner of contradictions came forth, with Adebayor saying:
“Barcelona have made a good financial offer. Yes, I am still under contract to Arsenal but it is up to the directors to satisfy my demands, otherwise I will leave.
“You have to take advantage of the moment. Why not go to Barcelona if the manager there already has me in his plans. That means there is a big chance of seeing me there.”
By now I’m also sure you’ve read his comments on AC Milan, as well. The man I have placed so much faith in (the whole world can vouch for that) is practically hawking himself out. At least, it appears this way. Arsene Wenger has been much more emphatic in his view on the situation, saying that he will try and hold Adebayor to his contract:
“No. I met him already, on Friday before his press conference.
He’s under contract. That’s quite simple. I’m not worried. I can tell you as manager of Arsenal Football Club I am not worried.”
But such is the state of club football’s affairs that this sentiment can only hold true for so long. Is Adebayor going? Probably. It’s a total reversal on what I’ve said before and a lot of people will laugh, mock and scorn, but the truth seems to be the opposite of what I have been barracking for before.
With that said, we really do have to be careful of what we wish for. The majority of fans that I’ve surveyed want Adebayor to go. Given new evidence, I am inclined to agree with them. For fans that shelve out as much as they do on season tickets to the Emirates’ (or who get up at 3:00 AM to watch them religiously), who love the club and have followed them for a healthy length of time, players lacking loyalty are a brash insult.
Ashley Cole, Nicolas Anelka, Matthieu Flamini and Alexandr Hleb are feeling the brunt of insulting such fans. And Adebayor has been flirting with this for a long time. On the traditional, fan-based sentiment, Adebayor must go. In the long term, the club will always live on.
But what of the short term? Arsenal were in touching distance of putting together a very healthy squad for the coming season, and Adebayor’s leaving puts us back a peg and a half. A common criticism of Adebayor is that ‘any Tom Dick or Harry could slot in where he plays, and score twice as many goals given the service the team provides’. While not questioning the service from midfield, I have never been very sure about the idea that someone else could score the same amount of goals as Adebayor, let alone double.
What he brings to the side in goals disguises the goals he provides others, for starters. That’s not counting assists, neither. His bustling, physical presence was developing very nicely last season, and he did bring ‘a certain something’ to affairs. You can spout off all the David Villas, Guizas and RVP’s at me, but to replace Adebayor’s goal scoring will be both a necessity and a toughie for Arsene Wenger.
While Adebayor really must go, it will do nothing to stave the player-power crisis in club football. Manchester United may have the resources to keep Ronaldo in the stands, but I doubt that will happen. Adebayor’s leaving and probable shortage of goals to come could prove our popular fishwife’s tale of the curse of leaving Arsenal. But it wont do much to prevent it from happening again.
One last thought. If Adebayor does leave, I will agree that Wenger should use the cash to buy a dangerous, ‘glittering’ striker, like Villa. I will need to be convinced that such a player could come in and score as many goals in a debut season, but it is players like Cesc Fabregas that concern me. We need to show our other loyal players, like Cesc, Clichy, Sagna and Toure, that we are not a sinking ship. I don’t think Arsenal are, but the media will do anything to spin that yarn.
And it is a yarn we’re all getting tired of.