Adebayor blasts Lyon’s ‘ridiculous’ excuse to cancel transfer

Emmanuel Adebayor has expressed his anger over Lyon’s ‘nonsense’ excuse for not signing him.

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The 32-year-old was expected to seal a move to the Ligue 1 club as a free agent, but they pulled out of the deal, because of Adebayor’s participation in next year’s Africa Nations Cup and his ineligibility for the Champions League.

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“They said that? That’s nonsense,” he told L’Equipe.

“They came to me after we had qualified [for the African Nations Cup], so they knew I was going to play.

“If they start looking for such excuses, they will kill themselves. I’m the captain of my country, so how could I not go? What if a Frenchman refused to play in the Euros?

“OL spoke to Claude Le Roy, my coach with Togo, and they didn’t ask for special treatment. This was absolutely never a reason there was no deal.

“I found out [the move was off] on Saturday morning. Claude Le Roy told me he had seen it in L’Equipe. I called my agent who more or less confirmed it to me. Terms were agreed on Tuesday. Lyon wanted to send me a private jet to Lome [the capital of Togo].

“I couldn’t leave the same evening because Lome is not Paris – there are not flights every 30 minutes. I had things to sort on Wednesday too.

“So I arrived on Friday morning at 10:30 to speak to the coach. I thought it was just a medical then to sign. Even if I wasn’t in the squad, I would have gone to Marseille to support the team and see how they play.

“The coach asked me surprising questions. He wanted to know if I was married, if I had a kid. But all he needed to do was look online. He asked me how I would speak to the young players in case they were struggling, in which role I saw myself. This is how I know there was not already an agreement on a contract.

“I’ve been playing at the highest level for 15 years and I have worked with some of the best coaches in the world — [Arsene] Wenger, [Jose] Mourinho, [Didier] Deschamps, [Roberto] Mancini.

“He asked me why it didn’t work at Crystal Palace. I told him that I’ve always played for teams aiming for the English title or a European title. It’s the first time I’ve been in a team battling relegation and the play didn’t suit me.

“What’s more, he’s scared of Florian Maurice [Lyon’s director of recruitment]. I asked to see around the ground to soak up the atmosphere but he said he’d have to speak to Florian. Imagine Wenger asking someone if he could give me a tour of the Arsenal training centre.

“I think the Champions League win against [Dinamo] Zagreb changed things. There’s a little disappointment obviously because I really liked Lyon, like I said to the coach. If they didn’t want me, why did they make a ridiculous excuse?

“But I’m stronger than that in my head. I could have died in 2010, so nothing can touch me today. I will move onto something else, even if this was a really funny chapter.”

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