Alan Pardew has dismissed suggestions he has gambled by signing Emmanuel Adebayor, revealing the striker has signed a performance-based contract to inspire him to produce his best.
The enigmatic former Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Tottenham striker joined Crystal Palace on Tuesday after spending five months as a free agent following his release by Spurs.
He possesses the talent to remain among the Barclays Premier League’s finest but has a reputation for being both lazy and problematic, causing concerns he may disrupt what has so far been a fine season for Palace and undermine their pursuit of European football.
But Pardew is adamant he has sufficiently researched Adebayor’s character and is confident Palace can benefit the 31-year-old’s career as much as he can provide them with much-needed goals.
“We’ve incentivised his contract to do that, in terms of him being a success,” said Pardew, who accepts the striker remains too short of match fitness to start against Stoke in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
“I see in him a desire to get his career back on track, and I think I can help him. I’m hoping that’s a win-win situation for him and for us.
“You cannot underestimate the quality he has. I’ve tried to sign him twice before, once at West Ham, when I came that close, and at Newcastle we talked long and hard about him.
“He’s a character that needs to be loved and the group I have… he’s going to get that.
“For us it’s about bringing in a striker to give everyone a boost. We all felt sorry for ourselves, no (Yannick) Bolasie, Connor (Wickham’s) now suspended, so it’s great for us.
“You can see in the training ground there’s a lift already. He’s done the first part of his job because everybody is really pleased he’s here.
“The only risk is if he doesn’t play well. I can’t see any other risk. I think we discard players quite quickly, and sometimes too early.
“If you look at Harry Redknapp’s career, he was very good at regenerating some senior players who were supposedly at the end of their careers, and I’ve had a couple of situations like that: Teddy Sheringham springs to mind, who was playing in my Premier League team (at West Ham) at the age of 38.
“You sometimes cannot get the kind of quality that Adebayor can bring. We’re very fortunate to have him, I make no bones about that. Our fans should be very optimistic, because I am.”
Pardew has previously worked with Hatem Ben Arfa and Carlos Tevez, giving him experience of other players with difficult streaks, but he has also been in contact with Tim Sherwood regarding his success in managing Adebayor at Spurs.
“It’s important to understand the history, talk to people who have worked with him,” he said.
“Particularly Tim Sherwood, who’s someone I know well, and I know from Tim that there’s certain things Adebayor works on, works with, and I’d be foolish to ignore them, so I’m going to try and help create an atmosphere here that gives him the best possible chance of success.
“He didn’t need to come here, the financial deal for him to stay at home or to be here is probably exactly the same, so he’s putting himself up and that fills me with confidence.
“I’ve had messages with Tim, via somebody else, but I probably will speak to Tim as I go along.
“If I can get him anywhere near his best, it’ll be more than good enough for us.”