What if Adebayor stays?

Seeing the statistics today on Sky Sports News about the most dangerous players in the Premiership, it will come as no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo is top of the pile.

Slightly more surprising is the fact that, in terms of goals and assists, Dimitar Berbatov comes second. If Manchester United sign the Bulgarian and retains Ronaldo, we may as well all go home now. I’m holding on to the hope that the Portuguese winger gets his wish and joins Real Madrid.

Perhaps even more eye-catching is the fact that, along with Frank Lampard, the next most potent player is our very own Manu Adebayor.

Remember how unconvinced we were when he first arrived at Highbury? Without the pace of Henry, the trickery of Kanu or even the heading ability of John Hartson or Malcolm MacDonald, we wondered what Arsene Wenger saw in him.

The only memorable moment from his first half-season at Arsenal was the trickery on the byline that resulted in the opening for Thierry Henry to score against T*ttenh*m – which was more than enough for most of us.

And in our first year at Emirates, Adebayor was the most determined, hard-working player at the club, making us all feel that his heart would be red and white for years to come. Leading the line at Old Trafford and nicking a goal at the death suggested there was more to this boy than many of us initially envisaged.

That said, I remember games such as the home tie against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League where he missed a sackful of chances that would have made Alex’s late goal nothing more than academic.

No doubt, Adebayor moved forward last season – his 30 goals for the club are a testament to that. But can we now afford to lose him?

It is interesting to see Wenge's comments today about our goals-to-chances ratio and I wonder whether he was thinking of Adebayor when he said: "The team is performing well, but the target of a top-level sportsman is to always improve and I believe we can be more clinical, we can score more with the chances we create."

As I stated yesterday, given the injury problems Eduardo and Robin Van Persie have encountered recently, we’re going to be left with rookies like Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela – both of whom I have no doubt will be phenomenal players – to support Niclas Bendtner. And that is not enough.

Speculation is rife that Barcelona, surely the only viable suitors for Adebayor now Ronaldinho has gone to Milan, are getting frustrated at a lack of progress and are turning their attentions elsewhere. Maybe it is just a ploy to bring the price down. Maybe they are now short of transfer funds after signing five players. Maybe with Messi and Henry and having not yet disposed of Eto’o, they don’t want to commit to a new forward.

Whatever.

The fact is, we may well be saddled with a player who can be brilliant on his day, frustrating when he’s off his game. A player who flirted with other clubs, who talked about setting himself up for life and doing Arsenal a favour by leaving because of the profit he would make us.

Will the chants in his honour be so loud next season if we don’t sell him? Somehow, I don’t think so.