There’s no doubt about it – this has been a disappointing season for Manu Adebayor.
When the Togo striker arrived at the club, he seemed in awe of his strike partner Thierry Henry and yet he compensated his limited technique with admirable endeavour.
When Henry left for Barcelona, it freed many of the team from the intimidating shackles they had worn under Titi’s over-bearing reign and Adebayor was without doubt a revelation.
His strike last season against T*tt*nh*m at Sh*te H*rt L*ne summed up his ability to score world class goals and it was no wonder that other clubs would take an interest in him.
After the predictable and tiresome will he, won’t he saga of the summer which Arsenal fans have become used to, Adebayor’s commitment to Arsenal by signing a new contract seemed to underline the club’s ability to be able to resist the circling vultures.
But there’s always a risk that new contracts and a successful season bring with them over-confidence, dare I say it, arrogance, and a lack of hunger that separates true champions from one season wonders.
From where I’ve sat, it seems clear that Adebayor has not tried as hard this season, has not been as focused and, cynic that I am where he is concerned, I suspect he is already thinking about his next move.
Remember, he has had trouble with coaches at Monaco and with Togo in the past, due in no small part to his attitude.
So it is somewhat ironic that he is reported to be ready to play for Togo again this weekend against the wishes of Arsène Wenger.
Given that Adebayor was initially thought to be out for only three weeks, his return to action after six is perhaps understandable. Playing this weekend could give him a chance to get back some match sharpness ahead of his club commitments.
That said, I am sure that with so many big big games coming up, Wenger would rather nurse him back into action himself rather than read how important he is to Togo who don’t after all, pay his wages.
Adebayor could also cut off his nose to spite his face by playing this weekend. Not only could he incur the wrath of Wenger, but he could compromise not only his potential to win prizes this season, but also his chances of putting himself in the shop window for a move.
At the very least, playing well until the end of this season will remind the likes of AC Milan (who seem to be rivalling Real Madrid in sniffing around our players) that he is worth the huge money I’d like to see us get for him. The reported Milan figure of £35m is massively inflated but what a steal it would be if we could get that for him.
International week only ever means two things to me – anxiety that Arsenal’s players will come back injured or that we will lose momentum.
We’ve been doing pretty well without Adebayor but when fit and with his head in the right place, he could be a dangerous asset for the huge matches we have coming up.
If he returns to London Colney hobbling and out for another month after ignoring club orders, it will be damaging on so many levels.
What do you think? Should Adebayor play for Togo after so long out of action? Do you care whether he stays or goes in the summer? Let us know your thoughts.