Europe’s winter transfer market has witnessed some fanatical spending with a series of high profile names jumping ship, a sight not usually seen given the contractual and sporting obligations that most players are under in mid-season. Edin Dzeko started the ball rolling, finally leaving German outfit Wolfsburg and pitching up at Manchester City for £27M. The Bosnian’s arrival signalled the end of Emmanuel Adebayor’s relationship with Roberto Mancini; the Togo striker ended Real Madrid’s search for a striker soon afterwards.

Adebayor landing at Los Blancos was the happy ending to four months of verbal sparring between coach Jose Mourinho and his superiors. Since the Portuguese arrived from Inter last May, the Treble-winning coach has time and again highlighted his desire for another number 9 to compete with Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, his team’s only out-and-out forwards. Higuain’s injury before Christmas then meant Mourinho could only field Benzema up front, but the Frenchman’s below par form and the Portuguese’s lofty demands of the striker prompted the Real Madrid hierarchy to belatedly give their coach the gift he craved.

At the Santiago Bernabeu for an initial six-month loan spell, with the option to make the switch a permanent one in the summer, Adebayor can seemingly slot in with ease into Real Madrid’s formation under Mourinho. Perfectly formed to operate as a lone striker – Adebayor is 1.91m tall and a supreme physical specimen – the former Arsenal man will fill the target man role with ease, operating in front of Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Yet Adebayor poses a very different prospect than Benzema or Higuain, who often drop back to assist their midfield in times of need. As his new coach hinted recently, the two strikers now at his disposal will have work in harmony to try and bring silverware back to the Bernabeu after a two-year hiatus. "Higuain will be welcomed back with open arms", said Mourinho, "but my mind is now at ease with Adebayor and Benzema because they are different yet complementary players."


In his first interview for Real Madrid, Adebayor announced that he would need two to three competitive matches to find his form, having not played for City since the start of December. With no time to waste in the race to catch Barcelona in La Liga – the Camp Nou club have a seven-point lead at the time of writing – the Togo man will have to hit the ground running.

Los Blancos’ recent loss away to Osasuna is responsible for the seven-point deficit between themselves and Barcelona who, worryingly for Mourinho, do not appear to be taking their foot off the gas. Such a gap with the world’s best team does not favour Real Madrid, whose La Liga title aspirations appear to have suffered a nasty, if not fatal blow.

Mourinho may have won the domestic title during his maiden seasons at FC Porto, Chelsea and Inter, but the idea of finishing the race in second place looks very much like a foregone conclusion for the nine-times Champions League winners. A superb motivator, if nothing else, Sir Bobby Robson’s former translator still has the Copa del Rey and Champions League to play for, competitions in which Madrid have made steady, if not exceptional, progress in.

Yet whether or not Mourinho ends up winning silverware does not provide clues as to the future of Adebayor at the White Castle. The coach’s own future is up in the air after a growing rift between himself and Real Madrid’s director of football Jorge Valdano. In a club as political as Real Madrid, to stay in the dugout for more than a single season is often a feat within itself.

Another point of interest will be the observation of how Adebayor, who has been accused at times of being egotistical, behaves under Mourinho. The Portuguese has often clashed with rebellious players in the past, such as Mario Balotelli and even Ricardo Carvalho in his Chelsea days; any misbehaviour on Adebayor’s part would surely make his stay in the Spanish capital nothing more than a short vacation, with the Togo man not even making the summer.

Thrown into the lion’s den as a last resort with Real Madrid 1-0 down to Osasuna, the former Arsenal striker instantly showed glimpses of potential as he and his new team-mates tried in vain to jump-start their league campaign. Even if Adebayor manages to find his rhythm quickly, it is hard to speculate on his situation beyond the summer. President Florentino Perez appears set to jump at the chance of grabbing one of Fernando Llorente, Sergio Aguero or Diego Forlan, players who have been on Los Merengues’ radar for some time. And the prospect of losing La Liga to Barcelona will concentrate minds over their end of season transfer activity.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Jose Mourinho may end up winning nothing this season, much to the dismay of their trophy-craving fans; or the duo might end up winning everything. Whatever happens, both have giant question marks hanging over their heads until the end of the season, such is the way at the world’s biggest club. Winning won’t hurt their chances though, and with riches at their disposal, it is the time for Adebayor and Mourinho to begin reaping the benefits.