Cesc Fabregas believes Emmanuel Adebayor has grown into 'one of the best strikers in the world' - and admits Arsenal could not 'live without him' right now.
Togo's loss in failing to secure qualification for the African Nations Cup has certainly proved the Gunners' gain, as in-form Adebayor took his tally to 19 for the season with a first-half strike in the 3-0 win over Newcastle at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
It was a result which lifted Arsenal back to the top of the Barclays Premier League over Manchester United, who host Portsmouth this evening, and ensured their would be no hangover from last week's Carling Cup semi-final defeat to arch-rivals Tottenham.
Adebayor, 23, has now netted an impressive nine goals in his last seven appearances, scoring the opener in three successive league games.
Manager Arsene Wenger hailed the 6ft 4in African as a 'dream striker', who continues to go from 'strength to strength'.
Midfielder Fabregas believes there are few around to match him, as understandably comparisons with the likes of Chelsea's Ivory Coast frontman Didier Drogba begin to be drawn.
'Emmanuel is one of the best in the world, without any doubt,' Fabregas declared.
'You can not fault him in any way. He works, he defends, he chases the centre-backs, he goes behind, he can play to feet, he has a good first touch and a good technique.
'He has improved amazingly and for us I don't think we could live without Adebayor right now.'
Adebayor - signed from Monaco during January 2006 - is certainly repaying the faith showed in him by Wenger following the summer sale of talisman Thierry Henry to Barcelona, and on current form he looks set to smash the 30-goal barrier sooner rather than later.
Fabregas is glad to see how quickly his team-mate has become the 'idol of the club'.
'You have to have the capacity to learn, to be patient. He was when Thierry was here. Now he has the chance and he has taken it,' said the midfielder.
'That's what a big player does. Sometimes players they have the chance and they don't take it. He took it, he is playing very well, is improving every day and now he is the idol of the club.'
Fabregas was also on the scoresheet on Tuesday night, netting Arsenal's third with 10 minutes left.
His midfielder partner Mathieu Flamini capped another impressive display with a stunning 25-yard effort.
Flamini, who almost left the club in the summer, has been a revelation this season, and is in talks about extending his contract, which runs out at the end of the campaign.
Fabregas hopes the 23-year-old Frenchman will remain part of an exciting young side.
'Mathieu has been amazing all season,' said Fabregas. 'He is hyperactive, on the pitch, outside the pitch.
'He has so much passion for the game. He enjoys it and he hates losing.
'I don't know how he does it but he has so much power. With his encouragement we play better.'
Fabregas added: 'He is a very big player for us and has improved a lot.
'Mathieu has stepped up this year as have Adebayor and Gael [Clichy] and all these kind of players. We need them so badly.'