The pending signing of Samuel Eto’o has certainly divided opinion among the supporter base, but what is for certain, Everton are on the verge of signing one of the great Centre Forwards of the last decade.
Quick and powerful, with a wonderful eye for goal, Eto’o has enjoyed a golden career, with success both at Barcelona and Inter Milan. At 33 his powers may be on the wain, but he proved at Chelsea last season that he retains his poachers instinct and the hat-trick he scored against Manchester United in the Premier League was evidence that he remains a force to be reckoned with.
I first saw Eto’o live in action for Real Mallorca during the 2003/04 season. Then he was a raw striker with bags of potential, having left Real Madrid in search of regular first team football. The islanders, were taking on Barcelona at the Nou Camp, and Eto’o struck twice to give the Catalans an almighty scare. Barcelona eventually ran out 3-2 winners, but the watching Barcelona hierarchy had seen enough and signed Eto’o on a permanent transfer that summer. In just 145 league games for Barcelona, Eto’o struck an incredible 108 goals, winning the Champions League twice. He would go onto claim a third Champions League winners medal with Inter Milan, placing him among the competitions most successful players.
Arguments for and against the acquisition are valid, but Everton are signing a proven winner. Reports of a six figure weekly salary are wide of the mark, with Everton placing him in line with, but not above the squads top earners. That figure is considerably less than he demanded in talks with other clubs and despite questions over the players motives, this clearly shows that Eto’o retains a hunger to play in the Premier League.
At 33 a two year contract is a risk, but Eto’o is likely to act as support to record signing Romelu Lukaku and will likely start most of the games from the substitutes bench. With the club in four competitions, there is no way Lukaku can be expected to lead the line throughout the campaign. Last season, when the giant Belgium was out injured, the Blues form suffered immeasurably and that can not be allowed to happen again. Many have argued that the Blues should be looking at younger alternatives, but with an empty bank balance, it was always likely to be a stretch for Everton to spend big on Danny Welbeck or Loic Remy. Eto’o will bring a little bit of razzmatazz to Goodison, a big name signing that will attract attention across the globe, but Martinez will also expect him to act as a Mentor to Lukaku and the clubs upcoming attackers, including the impressive Chris Long.