Etienne Capoue has moved to dispel the perception that Emmanuel Adebayor is a divisive influence and would clearly welcome his friend and former teammate joining him at Vicarage Road.
Adebayor’s agent, Stephane Courbis, contacted the club last month to see if they would be receptive to the Togo striker joining them in January when he is removed from Tottenham Hotspur’s list of registered Premier League players. The key decision makers at Vicarage Road resolved to reassess the situation nearer the time and remain relaxed. They feel no rush to declare their hand, especially with a full quota of foreign players on their books and acutely aware that a lot can happen in the eight Premier League games before the window reopens.
Watford perform due diligence on any signing – Quique Sanchez Flores called Raul Albiol about Miguel Britos, for example – but they will not have to go too far to get a character assessment on Adeybayor. Capoue, the club’s record signing, spent two seasons with him at Spurs.
“Of course I’d be happy [if he signed] because he is a top player,” Capoue said of the 31-year-old. “He’s my friend. I talk with him a lot of times. He is like my brother, he is always advising me. When I was at Tottenham, he was a very, very good person. He doesn’t have a good image from people around football but maybe when you first look at him he is acting up. But he’s very professional and does more after training, more than you think.”
The tallies with what Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards told this reporter at a Manchester City function in 2010. They said his story has often been coloured by stereotype and he is not the trouble-making mercenary he is painted as. Adebayor, they pointed out, is someone who was not able to walk until he was four, escaped poverty and a humble home he shared with ten relatives at the age of 15 when he moved on his own to France. He was also caught up in the 2010 attack on the Togo national team’s bus while the death of his brother, Peter, two years later caused a bitter family rift.
Quique Sanchez Flores is a very sympathetic coach and places a huge amount of importance on a player’s emotional intelligence and their character. He would not be drawn on the Adebayor story this afternoon, confirming only “I know the player” and, quite rightly, preferring instead “to talk about the players who belong to Watford”.
Speaking more generally about the DNA of a prospective target, Sanchez Flores said: “I love players with talent, hunger, with soul, a very good person,” he said. “If we are in this case [with Adebayor], it would be perfect. But there are no names at the moment. For me the most important thing is that good players want to come to Watford team. We would welcome good players.”
Click HERE to read Troy Deeney’s thoughts on any move for Adebayor.