While Roberto Mancini struggles to control Mario Balotelli, Harry Redknapp believes he is reaping the benefits of Mancini's failure to bring the best out of Emmanuel Adebayor, another striker who tested the patience of the Manchester City manager.
Adebayor has played a key role in Tottenham's bid to secure a return to the Champions League after joining the club on a season-long loan last summer and his two goals against Swansea last Sunday helped Spurs move level on points with third-placed Arsenal .
Adebayor and his team-mates can put clear water between themselves and their north London rivals if they avoid defeat at Sunderland today – the home side are also benefitting from a rejuvenated on-loan striker in Nicklas Bendtner – twenty-four hours before Arsène Wenger's side face City at the Emirates Stadium.
Should Spurs claim third place, thus avoiding the tricky Champions League qualifying round, the chances of Adebayor making a permanent move to White Hart Lane will increase – though Redknapp concedes that the cost of a deal, in particular the player's wages, would be prohibitive. The manager insists, though, it will not be the attitude of a player who ruffled feathers at City and Arsenal that scuppers any deal.
"He has done ever so well for us and he comes out every day and has not been a problem," said Redknapp. "We'd like to keep him here but whether it's possible financially I wouldn't be sure."
Explaining why Adebayor's reputation precedes him, the manager added: "He's like lots of boys. You look at them and you think he's very confident, but with a lot of them it's bravado and they're not so confident. And I don't think he's so confident as you think he is. He needs assuring all the time that he's doing well. I think if you do that with him, you get the best out of him."
Redknapp stopped short of offering Mancini advice on whether a similar approach might work with Balotelli but did admit: "Balotelli is not my problem, but he is a problem. He doesn't seem to want to behave too well, does he? It's a real problem."
And what of today's danger man Bendtner, an Arsenal under-achiever? "On his day, he's a good player," Redknapp said. "It's just getting it out of him on a regular basis. If Arsène Wenger thought he was that good, he wouldn't let him go out on loan. Obviously he thought it was time to get him out."Reuse content