The Londoners are unwilling to break their wage structure to land the former Arsenal hitman and are only prepared to pay £60,000 of Adebayor's £160,000-a-week salary.
It is a nightmare scenario for City, with Roberto Mancini insisting he will never pick the Togo forward again.
City hoped Real Madrid would pay the £14m asking price for Adebayor after he went there on loan in January last season.
Even then, City paid a huge chunk of the striker's wages - and Madrid have not taken him on a permanent deal.
If they can't shift him, City may be forced to take up Tottenham's outrageous offer just to get him out of the club.