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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Generally, when a club agrees to sell their top goalscorer, you can expect a certain reaction from the supporters. It tends to range from anywhere between frenzied phonecalls to the local radio station and furious protests against the chairman in the carpark. Occasionally, in really serious circumstances, shirts will be burned in the street, which is never a good idea as those 'futuristic' fibres give off the kind of smoke that could blind everyone within a five mile radius. Oddly though, that hasn't been the case this week as Arsenal prepare to offload Emmanuel Adebayor.

In fact, the only emotion I've noticed from the fans was an email I received from an Arsenal-supporting friend about an hour before writing this column. "Oh my God," it read. "It won't fall through, will it?" A quick scurry around the messageboards revealed numerous like-minded sentiments. They can't wait to see the back of their Togolese top scorer and I don't entirely blame them.

Adebayor has never been quite as good as he seems to think he is. His goalscoring record prior to his arrival in England was so appalling that you wonder what on earth it was that caught Arsene Wenger's attention. It is a credit to the Frenchman's judgement that he managed to spot the raw potential that was lurking under the unfavourable statistics. Adebayor is fast, comfortable with the ball on either foot, powerful in the air and strong enough to be a handful for any defender. Unfortunately, he lacks the shark-like awareness of Didier Drogba, the killer instincts of Fernando Torres and has all the positional sense of a corner flag. It's like no-one has ever taken the time to explain the offside law to him. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen a back-line step up to leave Adebayor scratching his bottom and staring at the floodlights, oblivious to the fact that he's five yards off-side.

Arsenal fans could have put up with his strategic limitations, but they couldn't accept it when he started to consider himself bigger than the club. It wasn't his place to describe the team as going 'backwards', especially as he only scored in three of Arsenal's first 15 league games, a run that took in all five of those critical defeats. He shouldn't have encouraged the flirtations of AC Milan either. In Wenger he had a manager who could mould him and improve him. He had Champions League football. What was he looking for in Italy? Well, we all know the answer to that, don't we?

I really don't think Arsenal will miss him at all. His performances in the last campagin could best be described as 'sporadic' and the last thing a dressing room needs is someone who obviously doesn't want to be there. Wenger is reported to be tracking Marouane Chamakh, the spearhead of French champions Bordeaux, and he would be an ample replacement. Dominant in the air and capable of the kind of nod-ons and flicks that can open up space for the quicker front-men, he'd fit right in at The Emirates. Failing that, Wenger still has Nicklas Bendtner to lead the line, a striker yet to fulfill his undoubted potential. Given that Arsenal will make an enormous profit on Adebayor, as well as freeing up some cash in the wage-bill, it's little wonder that the only thing scaring the fans about this deal is the possibility that it might not go through.