Crystal Palace knows that striker Emmanuel Adebayor will help them right up until the moment he doesn’t
Crystal Palace knows that former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor is a prodigious talent. They know he will come immediately into their squad and provide them a goal scoring centre forward. They also know that he’ll be excellent right up until that day where his motivation falls right off a cliff.
The higher-ups at Palace including Alan Pardew aren’t stupid, they know exactly what they’re getting with this signing. By completing the transfer for Adebayor on a free today, they get an immediate boost where they need it most.
Adebayor will come into Selhurst Park full on energy and passion. He will look every bit the part of a world-class attacker even at 31 years of age. Many Palace fans will be entirely seduced by his act and will fall in love with him instantly. Even the more level-headed Eagles supporters will warm to his inspired play after he knocks in a few goals.
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Then the cracks in the armor will start to appear ever-so-slowly. He won’t close down the opposing defenders with his trademark long stride. He won’t work quite so hard to win the ball when he needs to fight off a physical central defender. It will be hard to see at first, but the most vigilant Palace fans will start to see the decline.
Palace fans needn’t worry if they don’t see the first signs of his decline though. After it begins it won’t take long for the wheels to fall off of his game entirely. There’s nothing subtle about Adebayor’s ineptitude when things start to go south.
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His body language will go from happy and majestic to surly and dark in the blink of an eye. Every time he doesn’t get the ball played exactly correctly to him you’ll see him make a grand gesture to illustrate his displeasure. When he’s taken off the pitch he’ll give the manager and his teammate an icy stare of discontent.
In that moment, Palace fans will know that their fun with Adebayor is over. We can’t be sure how long the fun will last, but we know that it will be brief. He’s proven it everywhere he’s ever played. There are three other Premier League sides that already know just how the Adebayor saga will play out for Palace.
The concerning thing for Alan Pardew and the Eagles is they aren’t getting Adebayor in his prime. At 31-years-old his physical attributes aren’t what they once were. Things that used to come easy for him are going to require more effort. It’s going to drain him a little more to train each day. That might significantly reduce his period of usefulness.
At least the other Premier League sides began with an Adebayor in his prime. Palace will start with a player who is desperate for redemption, but whose body might be more likely to betray him even if his will is strong.
Make no mistake, this is a good signing and a good gamble for Crystal Palace. They just have to accept it for what it is. They’ve made a move to acquire a striker who can be very good for them for a very short amount of time.
He isn’t the long-term answer to their issues up top and his good form might not even last the remainder of the season. He is a stop-gap that might give them enough firepower to allow them to punch above their weight and threaten the Premier League’s elite for the rest of the season.
Crystal Palace and their fans must go into the Emmanuel Adebayor era with their eyes wide open. It’ll be a joy to watch until it’s not. Then they should shut their eyes tight and move away from the moody attacker.