Can former Real Madrid & Man City man fire Tottenham into the Champions League?

Adebayor Man City

Emmanuel Adebayor's transformation from unwanted striker to crucial first-team player has taken Tottenham back into top-four contention this season.

Even in the crazy world of football, Emmanuel Adebayor's peculiar story at Tottenham this season makes you stop and think for a second.

Just weeks ago, the Togolese forward was completely frozen out of the first-team picture at White Hart Lane, not appearing in the Spurs team photo or even being allowed to train with the professional squad.

Now, the former Real Madrid, Manchester City and Arsenal striker is leading Tottenham's charge towards the top four, with three goals and one assist to his name in just five appearances.

It has been an amazing transformation - by anyone's standards.

And with Spurs only two points off fourth-placed Liverpool, Adebayor's antics have now put Tim Sherwood's side in genuine contention for a place in next season's Champions League.

At one point, all realistic hope appeared to be lost. Andre Villas-Boas could not buy a goal for love nor money, while Tottenham fell to one humiliating defeat to another.

But look at the north London side now. Their rejuvenation under Sherwood - and mainly led by Adebayor - has been overwhelming.

Spurs' 2-1 win at Manchester United on Wednesday was the icing on the cake. Adebayor struck first to head Tottenham into an unlikely lead and, though they endured a nailbiting finale, they held on for a priceless win.

The 29-year-old, of course, had to be taken off injured during the game but, providing his is not a long-term injury, he will be back to aid his side even further this campaign.

Even so, the inspiration he has given his team-mates already should be enough for a drastic improvement in form.

There are still flaws in this Tottenham setup, while Sherwood's attacking approach - not at all dissimilar to Harry Redknapp's - may be exposed by sides willing to react tactically to their north London opponents.

Adebayor has provided Spurs with hope, however, and that is usually half the battle.

How AVB will regret mistreating the 29-year-old during his time at White Hart Lane - and how Tottenham fans will be praying for a speedy recovery from injury for the Togolese marksman.

Most importantly, though, what a different narrative Adebayor's story has become.

image: © Alfonso Jimenez

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch