After failing to spark with Chelsea and coming under attack from his own manager for being too old, it was hardly surprising that Samuel Eto’o exited Stamford Bridge in the summer. Since then a variety if clubs have chased the Cameroon striker in an attempt to sign him. A move back to Italy looked the more likely option until Ajax came calling and negotiations began around a move to Holland. However in a bizarre twist, Eto’o has turned down the chance to play for Frank De Boers team and instead is holding out for a move back to England with either Liverpool or Everton. Both Merseyside clubs have expressed interest in the past but Eto’os wage demands are proving to be a major stumbling block.
Now Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has appeared to have switched his focus from Eto’o to Mario Balotelli with the fiery Italians agent arriving today for contractual negotiations. Balotelli seems set on the move after posting on Twitter yesterday that it was his last day at Milan effectively confirming his transfer to Liverpool. All being well, the 24-year-old could be unveiled as a Liverpool player as early as Friday. The transfer is likely to split opinion amongst the Liverpool fans, some of which will be happy with signing a player of the calibre of Balotelli, a man clearly able to fill the boots of the departed Luis Suarez. The other half however will be concerned about the potential for a repeat of his off field behaviour seen during his last stay in England with Manchester City. The self-confessed bad boy had various run ins with then City boss Roberto Mancini, with the final straw coming during a training ground bust up with the manager. Balotelli was shipped out of England and back to Italy with Milan fairly quickly after that event. A return to the Premiership should give the Italian striker a chance of redemption with the leagues most improved team from last season.
If Balotelli’s transfer does go through then Liverpool will likely give up on any move for Eto’o leaving neighbours Everton as the only remaining club that has expressed interest. However since enquiring about Eto’os desire to move to Everton, the Toffees have completed the signing of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea for a club record £28m. Manager Roberto Martinez made his move for the powerful front man after Lukaku impressed during a loan spell at Everton last season. Deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea following the signing of Spanish striker Diego Costa, Lukaku jumped at the chance to get regular first team football so is unlikely to be happy if Everton were to bring in Eto’o. Whether Everton need the Cameroon skipper is another valid question with a wealth of options upfront for Martinez to choose from. Besides Lukaku, Everton has Scotland international Steven Naismith, Belgian Kevin Miralles and Ivorian Arouna Koné whilst the emergence of youngster Chris Long during pre season has given the Spaniard more food for thought. Other clubs have been rumoured to be interested such as West Ham, West Brom and Sunderland but none of these could realistically afford his wage demands without fracturing their existing wage structures. Eto’o is still a fantastic striker and could offer a lot to a club but too many years living on ludicrous wages may have reduced his options somewhat. It may be that his Premiership dream is now dead and that he needs to look elsewhere to continue his career, finding a club that is willing to pay above and beyond for a 33-year-old front man with nothing to prove.