Arsenal and Everton in Eto’o transfer tug-of-war
Samuel Eto’o, 3/1 to be Cameroon top scorer, may have offers from two Premier League clubs to chew over this summer, as he prepares to represent his country at the World Cup.
Former Chelsea, Barcelona and Inter Milan hitman Eto’o wants to remain competing at the highest level, but relations with Blues boss Jose Mourinho soured this season, when the mischievous manager was caught on camera questioning the star’s age.
Arsenal were favourites to land the 33-year-old, but Everton are now also in the frame, as they seek to replace one disgruntled Stamford Bridge striker with another.
On-loan Belgium international Romelu Lukaku played an integral part in Roberto Martinez side’s impressive Premier League campaign, but will reluctantly return to his parent club after the finals in Brazil. The youngster, who recently had his first international hat-trick wiped off the slate after coach Marc Wilmotts broke FIFA friendly rules by making seven substitutions, has also fallen foul of Mourinho’s sharp tongue.
The one advantage that the Toffees could use to tip the balance in their favour is an offer of regular first-team football, but it may not be enough to tempt the fiery forward to Goodison Park.
In particular, Everton’s failure to secure Champions League action next term may be a stumbling block to any potential deal. Eto’o, who has won the competition three times, twice with Barca in 2006 and 2009, and again with Mourinho’s 2010 treble-winning Inter side, would like to add a fourth European medal to his extensive collection.
Eto’o’s wages may pose a further issue for the Merseyside club, which could cause the Cameroon talisman to plump for a move to north London, and join the Gunners instead.
With Theo Walcott injured, and doubts remaining over Olivier Giroud’s quality to lead the line, despite netting 22 times for club and country this term, the Arsenal boss is looking to add further firepower to his side.
Arsene Wenger’s nemesis Mourinho, who has repeatedly complained about a lack of quality in the frontline at Chelsea, may regret offloading Eto’o if he returns to Stamford Bridge next season in an opposition shirt.
Diego Costa has publicly confirmed that he will be lining up as one of Mourinho’s men next season. However, with the Brazilian-born poacher needing time to settle after an exhausting season at Atletico Madrid, Eto’o’s experience could have lessened the burden on the Spain striker. Especially considering that the futures of fellow forwards Lukaku, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba remain uncertain.
Eto’o, meanwhile, will have to place his club future on the back-burner, with Cameroon at 9/2 to qualify from a group that includes hosts Brazil, as well as Mexico and Croatia.