Emmanuel Adebayor has vigorously denied bizarre online claims that cigarettes and alcohol led to the collapse of a proposed move to French side Lyon.
The ex-Arsenal striker was on the verge of joining Lyon last week, as he looks to find new employers after his release by Crystal Palace at the end of last season.
However, the move fell through at the last minute, amidst reported quotes from Lyon manager Bruno Genesio that Adebayor had drank a shot of whisky and smoked a cigarette during transfer negotiations.
Adebayor has been forced to issue a statement to rubbish those claims, and declare that the article containing Genesio’s quotes was a spoof.
“Usually I do not comment on any transfer negotiations or speculation but this time certain matters need to be cleared up,” said Adebayor. “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.
“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“The statements have been retracted and the journalist is currently drafting an apology.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.
“The above facts can be supported by the Lyon manager, director of football and president. I wish Olympique Lyonnais all the best of luck for the forthcoming season.”