Adebayor's wages are proving a stumbling block.
But Van der Vaart told the London Evening Standard: "He is a great player for us, works his socks off and we love him here. He played for Real Madrid, Arsenal and City and I was surprised he came but I hope he stays.
"He is a top striker, one of the best I've played with. I played with Ruud van Nistelrooy, (with Real Madrid and Holland) he was fantastic.
"Normally strikers wait for their chances and score but he (Adebayor) is working and even when he doesn't score he is still important for the team and that's what makes him a big man for us.
"Last season I had a good understanding with (Peter) Crouch but with him it's even better. He is tall, strong and also is not selfish."