The latest of Manchester City's new galactico signings, Emmanuel Adebayor, last night hit out at the Arsenal fans whom he claimed drove him away from the Emirates Stadium and declared he had been sold against his wishes to raise badly needed money for the club.
Adebayor, who revealed he had returned from holiday two weeks ago to be confronted with the news that the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, had agreed to sell him to City, said he had done all he could to win over supporters poisoned against him by bids for him from Real Madrid, Barcelona or Milan which he was powerless to prevent last summer.
"It's a strange thing in football," said Adebayor, City's £25m signing and fourth major purchase of this summer. "When a player plays well everybody loves him. I'd just scored 30 goals in [the 2007-08] season, and it wasn't my fault Milan or Barcelona or Real Madrid want to sign me. The fans never understood that; they never understood why [those clubs] wanted to buy me. I couldn't understand why they were after me. I'd done everything, made a speech, played for three years, done my best. The way the fans behaved towards me was not nice at all."
At a shareholders' forum in May, Wenger said Adebayor was being "slaughtered" by fans who booed him during games and though there seemed little doubt last summer that the 25-year-old striker was agitating for a move, his indignation is accentuated by the fact that former Arsenal team-mate Cesc Fabregas is, as he sees it, never subjected to supporters' criticism despite frequent approaches from other clubs. "Every single summer and December, Barcelona try to buy Cesc but the fans never turned on him. But that's life. It's behind me," Adebayor said.
The indignation he clearly feels is probably not what manager Mark Hughes is hoping for in one of his new strikers and provides more evidence that City cannot simply wave a chequebook and expect players to want to sign. But the Togolese, radiating as much positive energy about his new task as he often does in interviews, is theirs in any case and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that he will put everything into what he agreed, last night, is his biggest challenge yet.
Adebayor may appear in some of City's match against either Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates here tomorrow, especially as Carlos Tevez will not play and is expected to miss training for a week because of a heel injury. He offered an insight into why he needed several days to turn City's offer round in his mind and harboured such uncertainties about it. Adebayor had no notion of the deal until returning from holiday on 12 July to be told by his agent Stephane Courbis that Wenger wanted to talk.
"I met him [Wenger] in his dressing room," Adebayor said. "He told me: 'You can leave'. I said: 'Why do you want me to leave now? Why do you want to sell me?' At the end of the day I find out the club – Arsenal – need money and I'm the target. It was a tough decision. But today I've left Arsenal and everything I've done there is behind me." Of Wenger's decision to use him to raise cash, he said ruefully: "They pushed the finger on me. Well, I'm very happy they've got their money and I hope they spend it well – and the club can go forward."
Wenger's conduct towards him – after a three-year relationship in north London in which the Frenchman has "put me where I am today" as Adebayor sees it – has puzzled him. Though it is likely last summer that Adebayor favoured a move to Milan, he insisted Wenger could not declare as much. "He can never ever stand up on TV or anywhere and say that last summer I told him I would be leaving. All it ever told him was I loved the club and wanted to stay."
On a day when two more strikers left Eastlands – young Welshman Ched Evans is expected to be unveiled as a Sheffield United player after a £3m move with a possible 20per cent sell-on and Felipe Caicedo's season-long loan to Sporting Lisbon has gone through – Adebayor also became the latest individual to issue a plea to John Terry to join the City revolution.
"He is one of the best in the world," he said. "If City want to be a big club they need big names and big players like John Terry. We all know how good he is. You can't be captain of an international team just like that. He has a great character and that's why [we] want to buy him. If we get someone like him we can be sure of our defence."Reuse content