Heurelho Gomes has become the latest player to contradict the often default view of Emmanuel Adebayor, paving the way for him to be integrated into the Watford squad.
Much is made of how Adebayor apparently destabilises a dressing room and is a bad egg yet he was in the Arsenal side when they reached the Champions League final in 2006 and the League Cup final in 2007. Real Madrid won the Copa Del Rey with him in the team in 2011 and Tottenham Hotspur finished fourth and got to the FA Cup semi-final in 2012 thanks to his goals.
Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards, two of his former teammates at City, have previously spoken to us privately about how Adebayor is miscast while Etienne Capoue says the Togo forward is one of his best friends and is “a very, very good person”.
Gomes was at Spurs with Adebayor and said, when asked about the widely held beliefs about his character: “It’s wrong. He’s a great man, a happy man. He’s a joke and you know how good he is on pitch if you give him confidence. He’s a great player. I never had any problem with him. I believe the players never had a problem with him. Maybe it was situations at the club. Maybe it was more with directors. Nobody told me bad things about him.”
Once match sharp, it is difficult to think of a better suited back up to Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo than Adebayor, the 31-year-old former Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Spurs forward, particularly as he won’t cost a penny in terms of a transfer fee and Spurs will be paying the majority of his £110,000 a week wages.
“He can put the ball on the floor, he can hold the ball up front, he is top class,” said Gomes of a player who has commanded £37m in transfer fees.
Gomes was joined at Watford in the summer by Capoue, who made a club record switch, while another former teammate, Benajmin Stambouli, came within a whisker of signing. As we revealed in August, a deal with Spurs to sign Younes Kaboul was agreed but the Hornets pulled out.
Kaboul went to Sunderland instead and will come up against Gomes and Capoue tomorrow.
“I know Kaboul very well,” said Gomes. “He’s a great man. Before he signed for Sunderland I asked him to come to Watford. He’s a great player and I’m happy for him as he’s playing well at the moment. He just had problems at Tottenham with injuries.”