Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has revealed Emmanuel Adebayor could make his first appearance of the season at his former club Manchester City on Sunday.
Adebayor was a key part of Villas-Boas' team last season, but this term he has been forced out of the running by €30 million signing Roberto Soldado.
Adebayor has only been on the bench on one occasion so far, but Villas-Boas looks set to include him in his matchday squad for the game at the Etihad Stadium.
With Adebayor not being on international duty over the last fortnight, Villas-Boas has had a chance to look more closely at the Togo striker, who missed a large chunk of early season because he was allowed time off for compassionate leave.
The striker, who spent three years at City before an acrimonious split with then manager Roberto Mancini, played in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the club's training ground last week and the Tottenham manager liked what he saw from the former Arsenal man.
“Our likely approach is to go with one up front (at City),” Villas-Boas said. “They (Soldado, Adebayor and Jermain Defoe) are very near each other at the moment and it could be a possibility that even Ade could play that game. These are all decisions that we have to take. We don’t have enough reasons at the moment not to trust Soldado and Defoe because they’ve been excellent.
“Hopefully it’s a decision that’s best for the team and best for the strategy.”
Villas-Boas is a fan of pitting players against their former clubs but fielding Adebayor would be a big risk, especially as he got sent off against another of his old teams Arsenal last season. However, the facts suggest that Spurs need a change up front.
Four years ago to the day, Spurs ran out 9-1 winners against Wigan. This season they have scored nine goals throughout the entire Premier League campaign.
“We haven’t been able to find the back of the net as often as we should,” Villas-Boas said. “But we are creating lots of chances. We just have to believe it will arrive that we are able to slot in all these chances.”
Soldado may have scored four goals in the league but only one has come from open play.
The Spaniard admitted this week he has struggled to combine with his team-mates since his big-money move from Valencia.
The 28-year-old has played at the top of a 4-2-3-1 system and some have criticised Villas-Boas for not giving Soldado support by playing another striker alongside him, but the Portuguese looks set to stick with a lone striker this weekend.
“We played 4-4-2 against a local team here during the international break,” the Spurs boss said. “We probably can revert to it in the future but I am unsure if is the right time to change our formation, bearing in mind the fixtures we have coming up against Man City and Manchester Utd. We have been consistent in terms of chances created within the 4-2-3-1, so that is probably how we are going to do.”
Given that Villas-Boas is determined to stick to a lone striker, either Lewis Holtby or Gylfi Sigurdsson will come in at number 10 for Christian Eriksen, who sprained an ankle on international duty and is due to be out for four weeks.
Spurs are still without Danny Rose because of a toe injury, so Jan Vertonghen will once again have to deputise at left-back.
Other than Eriksen, all Tottenham’s players returned from the international break in good health.
Just like Spurs, City have not been at their best this season following a summer of upheaval at the club.
Villas-Boas is surprised that City have lost four games so far, but he still rates Sunday’s opposition highly.
“They are a team full of great individual talent and they are very well managed,” Villas-Boas said. “At this stage on the season to see a team with four defeats is extraordinary but it reflects how competitive the league is this season.”