Belfast Telegraph

Adebayor could have left - AVB

Andre Villas-Boas admits he was happy to let Emmanuel Adebayor leave Tottenham this summer.

The Tottenham manager revealed on Thursday that Adebayor has been ordered to train with the club's reserves.

Adebayor barely featured in pre-season following the £26million signing of Roberto Soldado and he was then given extra time off following the death of his brother in Togo.

The 29-year-old returned to London at the end of last month, but he has since gone back to Togo, for "personal reasons", according to Villas-Boas.

When Adebayor, who is one of the club's top earners, comes back on Monday, he will train with the reserves.

"At the moment Ade is not with us, because we have granted him authorisation to stay up until Monday in his country for personal reasons, so he's not going to be involved against Norwich (on Saturday)," the Tottenham manager said.

"Up to when I find it appropriate, he will train with the development team.

"He was a couple of weeks late in relation to the rest of the team, bearing in mind his personal tragedy. So at the moment, things stand as they are."

Adebayor spoke this week about his desire to become Tottenham's first-choice striker, but the revelation that the former Arsenal forward was free to talk to other clubs suggests he does not feature in Villas-Boas' first-team plans.

Schalke and Besiktas were interested in Adebayor and Villas-Boas confirmed he was happy to let the striker leave.

"There were opportunities, yes, for him to leave," the Spurs boss said.

"But he was not interested in them, so he didn't.

"We had to think about the situation so we presented the player and his agents the situations we were presented with."

Villas-Boas insists he has no personal issue with Adebayor, who has proved a divisive figure at other clubs in the past.

But when offered a chance to promise that Adebayor would play for Spurs again, Villas-Boas only responded with: "There is a possibility."

The quiet way in which he delivered the response hardly smacked of a ringing endorsement, and when Villas-Boas was asked to assess the strength of his attacking options, there was no mention of Adebayor. "We have two great goal-scorers (Soldado and Defoe)," Villas-Boas said.

Tottenham host Norwich on Saturday in what will be the first match of the post Gareth Bale era.

After being peppered with questions about the now Real Madrid midfielder over the entire summer, it is clear that Villas-Boas wants to forget the saga.

The Portuguese responded with a very blunt "no" when asked whether he felt any emotion at seeing images of Bale train with his new team.

"What we have to do is move on," the Tottenham manager added.

In reality Spurs had moved on from Bale even before he departed.

The club spent in excess of £100million replacing Bale with seven new signings.

Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Paulinho and Nacer Chadli signed before the season began while Vlad Chiriches, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen were snapped up just before the defeat at Arsenal.

Villas-Boas, who was accused of making too many changes too quickly at Chelsea, admits the new signings will take time to settle in.

Indeed he forgot Chiriches' name on Thursday when listing the players he had signed.

He has no doubt about the potential of the new arrivals, though.

"The expectancy is these players will become world stars," he said.

Villas-Boas showered praise on Eriksen, the £11.5million signing from Ajax.

The Dutch club are famous for turning raw young talent in to stars and Villas-Boas thinks Eriksen has plenty of potential to go on to be a world-beater with Tottenham.

"I think what happened with Christian is a bit like that happened with like Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart when they were at Ajax," Villas-Boas said.

"They reach a moment in their career where they become extremely important for their team and the club who goes and gets them does a great transfer move.

"We expect great things of Christian Eriksen and we want to develop him into becoming that sort of important player for us as well."

Lamela and Eriksen are likely to make their full debuts against Norwich, but Chiriches will not play as Tottenham are yet to finalise a work permit for the Romanian defender.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is a doubt due to a leg injury while Etienne Capoue and Aaron Lennon are out.

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