Emmanuel Adebayor plays in attack for Togo and Arsenal in the English Premier League. He is a tall target-man striker who uses his height and pace to break down the opposition. He has been criticised for needing too many chances, but Arsenal create so many chances that he still scores more than once every two games. He helped African minnows Togo to the 2006 World Cup Finals and 2007 African Cup of Nations Finals, and is a key member of the Togo leadership team.
Adebayor was born on 26th February 1984 and grew up in Lome, Togo. He was initially scouted by a local football team, but Metz also had scouts in Togo, so recruited him, at just 15 years old, to go to their academy in France.
After two years in the Metz academy, Adebayor made his way into the first team, debuting for Metz in October 2001. He played as the substitute striker in his first year, but by the age of 19 he was the first choice attacker, with his record of 13 goals in 31 matches enough to win him a big move to Monaco.
At Monaco, he was again reduced to substitute striker, but was happy to learn his trade by playing against some of world-class players on a daily basis, in training. After two and a half convincing seasons for Monaco, the top clubs were lining up to sign this tall, athletic goal-scorer.
Arsene Wenger was first in line to take Emmanuel Adebayor across to English football, and Adebayor joined in January 2006. Wenger had Adebayor in mind as the future replacement for Thierry Henry, who seemed set on leaving the club at the end of the season.
Adebayor debuted on February 4th 2006, against Birmingham City, and played a few cameo roles throughout the tail-end of the season. Henry and van Persie were chosen ahead of him because Adebayor was cup-tied in the Champions League, and Arsenal were on the way to losing in the 2006 Champions League Final.
Thierry Henry decided to stay to help Arsenal have one last go at the Premiership and Champions League, which limited Adebayor’s appearances – though he still scored 8 in 21 games. Henry’s departure a year later saw Adebayor become part of the established strike-force, paired with either Eduardo or Robin van Persie. 24 goals helped Wenger to keep his faith in Adebayor, and the lanky Togo international has remained integral to Arsenal’s game-plan.
Emmanuel Adebayor was eligible to play for various international teams, and chose Togo in spite of the fact that his hero, Nwankwo Kanu, played for Nigeria. He made his debut for Togo in 2005, when he helped the Togolese national side qualify for the 2006 African Cup of Nations and 2006 World Cup. Both campaigns ended in multiple defeats for Togo, but they were playing against some of the best teams in the World.
Adebayor became a figurehead for the Togo squad, often having to personally pay for aeroplanes and hotels for all of the players because of administrative difficulties in Togo. He was dropped for complaining about this, but has since been re-instated, and is one of Togo’s key players.