Adebayor determined to be Henry's first-choice strike partner

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The Independent Online

Arsenal may be keen on adding rising star Theo Walcott to their attack, but their new signing, Emmanuel Adebayor, is confident it is he who can quickly form an explosive strike partnership with Thierry Henry.

The Gunners are competing with Chelsea for the signature of 16-year-old Walcott from Southampton, with Henry urging the youngster to move to Highbury.

Adebayor, 21, completed a move from Monaco to Arsenal for an undisclosed fee last week. His debut for his new club will be delayed by his participation in the African Nations' Cup, but the striker is already looking forward to establishing his own link-up with the brilliant Frenchman.

"I have a lot to contribute to Arsenal's attacks, and bring the necessary punch with Thierry Henry," Adebayor said.

"He [Henry] asked me, when I arrived for the press conference, 'are you going to play with me for the next game? I'm waiting for you'. That made a big difference, and I feel great to give Arsenal, one of the greatest teams in Europe, what they are missing."

Adebayor claims that the manager, Arsène Wenger, has big plans for him. "Arsène Wenger has confidence in me," added the 6ft 3in striker, who scored 10 goals to help Togo qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time.

"He even declared at my arrival in England, 'you are not here to play a secondary role'. When I think about this, I feel I have to do my best to be at the top. I'm impatient to work hard for the team, and I hope I can give maximum pleasure to the Arsenal fans."

The Tottenham sporting director, Damien Comolli, has dismissed Adebayor's claim that he turned down a move to White Hart Lane before joining Arsenal. Adebayor signed for Arsenal from Monaco last Friday but has insisted he also met a Tottenham official only a few hours before that.

"A lot of clubs have contacted me during the last few weeks but Arsenal have always been my priority," he said. "Other clubs like Tottenham and West Ham wanted me. I met a Tottenham official last Friday morning."

But Comolli maintains that no one from Tottenham met him, and neither was the manager, Martin Jol, interested in the player. "We do resent it when we see claims that we have been snubbed by a player in this way when we weren't even interested," said Comolli.

"Indeed, there would be absolutely no sense in us bringing in any striker who is involved in the African Nations' Cup and therefore about to miss games here.

"We have always said this would be a quiet window for us. The best players are not available in January. Martin and I are quite clear that we will always keep looking, but that we will only bring in quality players that will improve our squad."

It is the second time in a week that Tottenham have been forced to deny public comments about transfer activity.

The club first rejected claims by Alexander Kerzhakov's agent that they had made an £8m offer for the Russian striker. The agent, Konstantin Sarsaniya, claimed that Tottenham had made a "concrete offer" for the Zenit St Petersburg player, but the club's new owners, gas giants Gazprom, turned it down. Tottenham dismissed Sarsaniya's claims and made it clear that they are not interested in signing the striker.

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