Experienced striker is fourth summer signing
Neal Ardley has today finally landed one of his key targets after Adebayo Akinfenwa turned down interest from other clubs to sign for AFC Wimbledon.
Neal revealed that he had pursued Adebayo’s signature for 14 months and the striker came very close to signing for Wimbledon last summer only for the lure of League 1 Gillingham to prove too strong on that occasion.
However, the Wimbledon manager has got his man now and Neal believes the experienced striker will form an exciting forward partnership with Matt Tubbs, who signed earlier this week.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “I tried very hard last season to get Adebayo in and I’m very pleased that I’ve finally got my man. He is a striker who gets his fair share of goals, which the statistics prove, but what the statistics don’t show is how many goals he plays a part in. If you put someone alongside him with the finishing prowess of Matt Tubbs then it is clear what we’ve been trying to do here. I am over the moon with it.
“Adebayo will probably divide opinions in many ways throughout this league, but I think it’s key to point out that he can play football. He’s not just a big man who can win headers. You can play off him and he’s a target man who occupies defenders. Adebayo can get the ball down and see passes, but when we get into the final third to deliver crosses he will also be a good target. I think he will offer a lot to the team and it won’t just be for one particular style because he can mix it up.”
Adebayo, who is pictured centre above with Neal Ardley (left) and Ivor Heller (right), has scored well over 100 goals in the Football League and has a wealth of experience gained with several clubs. He enjoyed prolific spells at many of his former clubs, including Torquay United, Swansea City, Northampton Town and Gillingham, who he scored 10 goals for in League 1 last season.
Speaking to Rob Cornell on Dons Player, Adebayo said: “I’m not trying to be arrogant, but there were quite a few clubs aiming for my signature. But what the manager had said to me last year was massive. He could not give me League 1 football last season, but it made it an easier decision this time around. It was his vision and the way that he wants to play football that influenced my decision. I want to play well for him and for the club.
“For this club to come back into the Football League is a beautiful story. My mind set is that you should take your destiny in your own hands and defy your limitations; if you want to do something then you can do it. I just think that AFC Wimbledon and Akinfenwa fit well together. I’m looking forward to it and let’s do something great.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch extensive video interviews with Neal Ardley and Adebayo later this afternoon.
.Your AFC WimbledonOf course, lifelong supporter Mike Richardson's generous offer to match donations made to the We Are Wimbledon Fund during June has helped to strengthen Neal Ardley's squad. There's still time to make your contribution and for information click on