The latest news (I think) on the whereabouts of Emmanuel Adebayor is that he's staying in Egypt with the Togo squad.|
He previously walked out, vowing to come and start his Arsenal career a bit earlier than expected.
The story's been a bit confusing, but as far as we can tell Adebayor was furious at being left out of the starting line-up for Togo's first game against Congo on Saturday. "We lost yesterday and I do not know why I did not start. I was shocked - the main goalscorer of the team [being left out] - that is a joke. I scored thirteen goals to qualify my country and I can't start in the African Cup of Nations."
Reports suggest however that the coach Stephen Keshi has said he only left Adebayor out because he seemed distracted by his Arsenal move, "This morning I said to Adebayor that he wouldn't play because he hadn't played in a long time and because he had spent the last week sorting out his contract with Arsenal". The implication would appear to be that rather than refuse to return to Monaco after the winter break in order to join up with Togo early (as previously reported), Keshi thinks Adebayor did it in order to sort out a move for himself. It's not implausible. Keshi then changed his mind before the Congo game, and reinstated Adebayor to the starting XI, only for the player to go off in a huff and refuse to play. He did then come off the bench in the second half. Initial suggestions that the appearance of the player on the team sheet followed by his non-appearance on the field followed by his appearance was all down to a stomach upset were undermined by a public bust-up between the player and coach after the game.
Anyway, he is now back with them and preparing for their second game against Cameroon tomorrow. Having lost 2-0 to the Congo, a win is vital against the group leaders.
Inevitably, given that Adebayor had already been given a "troublesome" tag, all this has raised fears that he might be a bit too much of a handful. But Arsene Wenger has been diplomatic and optimistic, "At the moment Adebayor is in the newspapers a lot. I feel it's for some controversial reasons but I'm convinced it's mainly down to the fact that he's had no stability recently.
He was half in Monaco and half signing for us.
He missed their training but he has made the right decision to stay with his national team and fight for his international team in their second game and we'll assess the situation after that game."
"It's difficult for him because he's signed for a new club and can't play for us at the moment. He was over-reacting because of that."
Wenger also stressed that one can't be sure exactly what the truth is in all this.
Keshi has also been diplomaticdescribing the row as a "family disagreement".
"In a home, there are always misunderstandings between sons and fathers, because you want things right. Its just for you and the kids to come to a compromise - and that's what we did. Sheyi's a good kid, one who wants to learn and loves the game." (clearly, the question of whether to call him Sheyi or Emmanuel is one we'll have to keep an eye on).
This comes after Keshi was said to have been physically restrained from "confronting" the player on the team bus after the Congo game.
It's certainly too early to get at all worried about it. While it does seem that Adebayor might be prone to personality clashes, it's also true to say that Wenger seems to be a coach with whom players struggle to clash. If anyone can sort him out, Arsene can. The question is, can Adebayor get used to not being a big fish in a small pond? We'll have no prima donnas here.
Chances are he'll be with us soon enough anyway. Four-time Nations Cup champions Cameroon ought to be too strong for Togo. Unless the latter can find themselves a goal-machine...