Could Emmanuel Adebayor be the striker the Premier League's strugglers need in the short term?
After the Africa Cup of Nations, the Togolese forward is hopeful a club will take a chance on him18:34 Thursday 19 January 2017, 18:34 19 Jan 2017
Once the Africa Cup of Nations is over for Togo, Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to be a man in demand from a certain level of club.
The summer shenanigans after his short term deal at Crystal Palace left the former Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City striker without a club for the first half of this season.
"I love England, love the Premier League and want to find a way to get back there," he said, dropping more than a hint that it is the Premier League where his future lies.
He also suggested that even at the age of 32, he feels fresh and could feature for a few more seasons yet at a good level.
Only in the short term at least, there are clubs that could be wise to take a punt on the player under certain conditions.
There is no doubt about his pedigree on the pitch when it comes to short term impacts. His goals record has been reliable throughout his career in England, with 123 goals across his 12 seasons with Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Crystal Palace.
The latter club however as the last one that he joined and that was on a short term deal in the second half of the 2015-16 season.
Unfortunately for the Eagles and Adebayor himself, only one goal would follow in 15 fixtures which wasn't quite the impact Alan Pardew would have hoped for at a pre-Christian Benteke time when the London club lacked a truly established centre forward.
But Hull City for example might be one side that could do with a striker that is proven in the Premier League. Sitting 18th in the table, goals from a prolific centre forward have been lacking.
Dieumerci Mbokani, who is also at the Africa Cup of Nations with DR Congo, has failed to hit the back of the net this season, while Abel Hernández's double in the 3-1 victory over Bournemouth last time out was like a new signing after two months with injury.
The Uruguayan and top scoring midfielder Robert Snodgrass will likely need some help in forward areas
The hitch for a club that have not spent heavily in the last transfer window and a half will likely be wages with Adebayor setting back Crystal Palace a sizeable £70,000 per week last season. There was another £30,000 covered by Tottenham until June.
Middlesbrough are another club struggling in front of goal, although it has to be said that their problem is more one of service to lone centre forward Alvaro Negredo.
Watford are in lower midtable and their forwards Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, in particular, have not been able to reproduce their form of last season, which could open the door for a free transfer option just to help maintain a distance between the Hornets and a relegation battle in the second half of the season.
When it comes to Adebayor, the short-term is key as his value to a team does not elongate in the long term ever since he left Arsenal a season after his best ever campaign in 2007-08.
He scored in his first four Premier League games for Manchester City in 2009-10, before only finding the net in spurts as the season wore on. But he did finish on a relatively steady 14 goals that season.
By the time his second season came along, he was no longer entrusted with the role of lead forward and was eventually loaned out to Real Madrid.
When he arrived at Tottenham in 2012, he also had a sudden impact as he found the net three times in his first two league games. That first season saw him score 17 in total but by the time his second season came around, his goalscoring return and status in the team had dropped off.
It was the second half of his third season at White Hart Lane when he briefly found his feet again as the arrival of Tim Sherwood sparked a mini revival. But once Mauricio Pochettino came in, he was increasingly sidelined.
The lesson overall for any club that does take him on is to nail a deal down to the summer.
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