You have to feel for Tim Sherwood. After steering Villa clear of relegation, he had his first ever pre-season as a manager to look forward to, but the departures of Delph and Benteke however have given him a far tougher challenge than he perhaps ever envisioned.
The only positive in losing these two players is the money that Villa got back (principally from the sale of Benteke), which thankfully Villa have moved fast in the transfer market this past week to set-up several new arrivals.
So far, Villa fans have applauded the free transfer capture of Micah Richards and praised the seemingly shrewd additions from Ligue 1, but not all names have been met with such excitement. Step forward Emmanuel Adebayor.
It was almost inevitable that Adebayor would be linked with the club due to both Sherwood’s association with Spurs and the fact that Tottenham have been desperately trying to offload the Togo international, who only made eight league appearances for them last season. It appears the endless speculation was actually right and a loan deal looks likely to be announced in a matter of hours.
It’s a signing that has polarised Villa fans, but can he prove those that doubt him wrong this season?
Considering that the last loan deals we agreed with Tottenham were Jenas and Dawkins, the potential capture of Adebayor has to be seen as progress, at least in that respect.
When on form the enigmatic striker, as well as being a recognised good finisher is also a formidable aerial threat, something we need badly after Benteke made the switch to Liverpool.
Adebayor started his career at Metz and he has also played for Monaco and Real Madrid, as well of course as Man City and Arsenal. The fact that teams of this quality have been willing to employ Adebayor’s services is certainly a sound reference in terms of his talents.
Value for Money?
Tottenham’s Daniel Levy is a shrewd negotiator when it comes to transfers and will undoubtedly be keen for Villa to pay a large part of Adebayor’s hefty wages – believed to be around £100,000 a week.
It’s been reported by some journalists that Villa are to pay all of his wages, which will offset any fee. Fee? Considering the player will be 32-years-old this coming season, Spurs aren’t going to be able to command much of a transfer fee anyway considering he has one year left on his contract and his wages are burning a hole in their pockets.
The deal is reportedly on a loan basis, which would suggest that Villa aren’t paying all his wages. A major clue though to the actual agreement will come when his availability for matches against Spurs is known.
Benteke’s departure has left Villa with just under £30 million (after Genk’s share is subtracted) in the transfer kitty but it would be unwise to throw this cash at one target. While many Villa fans would like Sherwood to sign someone like Charlie Austin, he’s the sort of player who would command a massive fee – especially now that clubs know we have the Benteke money.
With that in mind, Adebayor’s loan, will be seen by Sherwood as part of a striker package, with Rudy Gestede of Blackburn and the already purchased Jordan Ayew, to give him real options and cover.
Although Adebayor has got respectable goal-scoring statistics it’s important to acknowledge just how happy (many) Spurs fans are to get rid of him.
Whether it’s refusing to play with the reserves or posting sensational Facebook rants about his troubled family background, there have been distractions in the past that do raise question marks over the striker’s temperament to whether he could focus on playing for Villa.
Benteke single-handedly kept Villa in the Premier League during the last three seasons but with the recent acquisitions, hopefully the goalscoring burden will be shared.
Statistics can sometimes be misleading. Adebayor has been playing for teams towards the top of the league table. Is he going to be able to match the records achieved at previous clubs with Villa?
Adebayor has a ton of Premier League experience. In 229 league appearances, the striker has scored an impressive 96 goals. Last season he only managed two goals in 13 appearances, but his tally in the 2013/14 season is particularly relevant.
When Sherwood took charge at Tottenham Adebayor was a forgotten figure. His reintroduction to the side thanks to Tim proved to be a clever bit of management, acting as a preview of what the boss was to achieve with Benteke.
In 24 games under Sherwood at Tottenham, Adebayor scored 14 goals. Compare that to Benteke’s record last season (13 goals in 29 league games) and it starts to look like it could work out.
Benefit to Villa
According to some reports, Adebayor rejected the chance to go to Crystal Palace in favour of a move to Villa. So, it seems that Adebayor is keen to link up again with Sherwood and the mutual faith between the two is at least encouraging.
Supporters should regard Adebayor as nothing more than a potentially decent short-term fix. For starters, he knows the league inside out unlike most of Sherwood’s new signings, so can hit the ground running. He’ll be an interesting player for Villa’s younger players to learn off and he also speaks French, which is fast becoming a necessity when playing for Villa!
Over the last couple of seasons Adebayor has been subject to cynical views from the footballing world, but he’s clearly a talented player.
The big ‘if’ with this move is whether or not Sherwood can get the best out of him. Adebayor, who may feel he has a point to prove, could thrive as the key man in Villa’s attack.
If football can be the main focus instead of some of the off-the-field issues that have been associated with the striker recently, a loan could work very well and he could help get Villa back on their feet again.
Hopefully the sight of Adebayor and Sherwood saluting each other becomes common at Villa Park!
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