Saturday, 18 July 2009

Adebayor signs

The fifth signing of the summer, the second £25m striker this week.

But I just can't get excited about this one.

Part of this is because, unlike anyone we've bought for some time, his purchase addresses no real felt need within the squad. Since the signing of Carlos Tévez we have had the strongest stable of strikers in my lifetime: Tévez and Roque Santa Cruz as the first choice pairing, with able support from Craig Bellamy and Valeri Bozhinov. Maybe if we'd bought Adebayor one week or one month ago - before the signings of the two South Americans - I'd be more enthusiastic.

But to buy him now? It feels like hoarding, like grasping, as if the policy has shifted from one of cautious recruitment and gradual development into exactly the sort of Florentino Pérez impression we were meant to be avoiding.

And Adebayor's signing feels different in another unappealing way too. Unlike anyone else we've bought since the takeover, I just can't get over the sense that he, more than any of our other recruits, is just here for the money. Of course, money is a factor in all of our signings - only the most myopic blue would deny this. But it remains true that money is more influential in some signings than others: and this move has none of the mitigating factors to be found elsewhere. Carlos Tévez wanted first-team football and to feel loved, RSC wanted to be re-united with Mark Hughes and to escape Allardyce's anti-football, Gareth Barry had wanted out for a year, and had watched Villa stagnate since Christmas, with little prospect of radical improvement this summer. But Adebayor? He was first choice at a club who, with the signing of Arshavin and the re-signing of van Persie, were on the up. And now he's left for his £170,000 per week. (This, regular readers will know, is why I didn't want Samuel Eto'o and don't want John Terry.)

It's that combination: a player we don't need, coming to City for questionable motives, that makes me a bit uneasy about it. Of course I recognise that Adebayor's a very talented striker - 46 in 105 in the Premier League is exceptional for a forward who arrived from Monaco as a raw twenty-one year old. And I recognise that the way we're going to get to where we want to go is through spending big money on better players. But it's simplistic to say that that should be the only aspiration. There are other things fans want too: a sense of stability, a loyal and well-motivated playing squad who show a decent work ethic, and the chance to build relationships with players rather than being presented with a whole new set of players every year. Yes, this is irrational. But we are football fans.

And so that is why, and I recognise the mixed metaphor here, this unnecessary acceleration along the agreed upon path in fact represents a step in the wrong direction.

I'll still cheer him though.


Mr. Bleecker said...

An Arsenal fan here with my two cents. After hearing about this potential move for the past week, I reacted with today's news with some relief, a little joy and a twinge of sadness.

Relief that this deal is done and Arsenal have received a club record fee for a player who didn't really want to stick around. Now we are hoping Arsene spends that on the CM we desperately need.

Joy that this divisive player no longer will be causing consternation among Gooners with his idiotic and out of touch comments.

Sad because this player was a joy for me to watch as he progressed from a gangly, awkward forward to a hustling turbo of industriousness. Sad that a player who seemed to have such joy running around the pitch had his head turned by that all too constant presence of leaches who whispered in his ear that he was 'world-class'.

Honestly, I'd like to say I hope he works out for you since a happy Togonator is a joy to watch but it was all too clear why he chose City and the fact that his agent shopped him to Chelsea and Man U before accepting City's offer is very telling.

I swear to God, you will see him kiss the City badge within his first 3 goals.

Jeff said...

Bellamy and Boj for cover? Yeah, if they don't hurt themselves warming up on the sidelines.

Daniel said...

Hours after he's signed a contract and City bloggers are already saying it's a bad move. The man stands 6'3" tall. Think back over the last few years of absolutely dismal strikers. Think of how few goals we've been scoring from set pieces because of the lack of height in the squad. I'd be really nervous going into the season with only one first-choice striker over 6'. Benjani, Caicedo, and (maybe) Ched Evans were our best big strikers before Saturday. If Roque misses a match we're back to the midgets, no offense. As Mark Hughes said: 'It's all about having options and flexibility'. Crying foul over a signing which will improve the squad's depth up front is baffling. And I'm sorry but we're a far cry from Real Madrid levels of player-hoarding. To accuse City of it is absurd. I'm sure a Chelsea fan or two had a good laugh at our expense. And as for being top-heavy: we still have over a month to sort out the defense. For now just enjoy the fact that we've bought two or three of the best strikers in the league.

Lee F said...

I agree with Daniel. I have more confidence in Adeybayor performing than Cruz and with the injury history of Cruz, Bellamy and the Boj it has to be good to have this strength in depth. Perhaps this was a signing that the owners were keen on to help us crack the African market but our team will be stronger for it. If the signing of Cruz was the last one we would be feeling the same way about him so lets get behind Ade and trust Highes on this one.

N Rowland said...

We can afford quality cover and we've acquired it. His height adds another dimension to the strike force. I get the feeling Tevez, SC and others will feed off the scraps brought down by Adebayor. He's a fantastic talent.

tom goulding said...

good post. but since when were arsenal on the up?

Anonymous said...

Adebayor brings something to the City frontline that has been lacking in recent seasons, pace and a physical presence. All too often, we have had strikers who tended to be knocked off the ball all to easily. With Santa Cruz and Adebayor playing up front, they are not going to make it easy for opposition defences especially at set pieces.