Emmanuel Adebayor has refuted claims he asked for whisky and smoked cigarettes at a meeting as he tried to secure a contract with Lyon.
The former Arsenal and Crystal Palace striker, who is without a club, was said to have made the bizarre requests by Lyon’s manager Bruno Geneseo after discussions over a move to the Ligue 1 club.
“We had a place in our squad for Manu, so I arranged to meet him for a coffee in Lyon. But, to my surprise, when he arrived he asked for a shot of whisky in his coffee. He also had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth,” Geneseo is reported to have said.
But Adebayor says the comments, first reported in France, were “meant as a joke” by the journalist in question, who the 32-year-old claims will be apologising for the mix-up.
In a statement, Adebayor said: “Usually I do not comment on any transfer negotiations or speculation but this time certain matters need to be cleared up.
“Lyon wanted to sign me and offered to pay for a private jet from Togo to bring me to Lyon in order for me to sign ahead of their game against Marseille. The contract was all agreed and I was merely flying in to complete a medical and sign the paperwork.
“Unfortunately, I could not get there in time to be registered for their game and they signed another young striker instead. They still asked if I could come and speak to the manager and director of football in order to establish if it would be possible to sign us both.
Abedayor scored once in 15 appearances for the Eagles after joining them in January
“We all had a perfectly amicable meeting in Lyon but the coach felt it was not fair on the young player’s development to sign us both and I felt I would not get the requisite game time I needed to make this opportunity worthwhile.
“For the avoidance of doubt I only drank water at this meeting and did not ask for whisky or have a cigarette.
“This was a report that came out of a French newspaper and is not only ludicrous and ridiculous but was meant as a joke by the journalist. The statements have been retracted and the journalist is currently drafting an apology.
“Unfortunately the press in other countries couldn’t see that the journalist was being highly sarcastic and rewrote the story.”