With Chelsea's biggest EPL competition failing to get significantly better during the offseason, the door is wide open for the Blues to ascend to first place. A consistent option at striker is perhaps the team's biggest need, and if Chelsea can't pry Wayne Rooney from Manchester United, African star Samuel Eto'o is the next best option.
According to Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror, Eto'o has shown interest in reuniting with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who led him at Inter Milan. Eto'o stopped short of demanding a transfer to Stamford Bridge, but he certainly didn't deny any interest:
I have played under a lot of great coaches—but there is no other character in the game like Jose.
He is one of the best coaches in the world—and we had a lot of success together at Inter Milan. I would like to have the chance to play under him again—because it is never boring when Jose is around.
Eto'o also acknowledged Chelsea and admitted that they would be among the offers he would consider if they ultimately decide to come through with one.
Chelsea are a great team. When we have all the offers on the table then I will discuss with my agent and see what my next step is.
Eto'o is suddenly available as Russian squad Anzhi Makhachkala has stumbled out of the gates. They are already willing to sell off virtually their entire roster, and Eto'o is among the players that they are looking to move, according to SuperSport TV.
Chelsea has been engaged in separate talks regarding Rooney, according to Richard Jolly of ESPN FC, but acquiring him is far from a lock. The Red Devils have been seemingly reluctant to move a fan favorite like Rooney, especially to a rival team such as Chelsea.
Should Chelsea pursue Eto'o if they miss out on Rooney?
The Blues can't afford to wait around forever when it comes to Rooney, so going after Eto'o would be a reasonable and cheaper alternative.
Although Eto'o is getting up there in age at 32, he is still an extremely productive player. Eto'o scored 21 times for Orlov last season, and he netted 37 goals while dishing out 15 assists for Internazionale during the 2010-11 season.
Playing for Chelsea would mean that the level of competition would be ratcheted up a few notches, but he would also have a better supporting cast in place. With explosive players such as Juan Mata and Eden Hazard patrolling the midfield, Eto'o would almost certainly put up strong offensive numbers as a member of the Blues.
If Chelsea has interest in the Cameroon international, though, they had better act fast. There are surely several teams out there that would love to have the experience and skill of Eto'o in the fold. In fact, Inter Milan is so enthusiastic about bringing back their former star that they have already made an offer, according to Tancredi Palmeri of CNN.
Eto'o has been offered a two years contract from Inter for 4.5m € per year, plus an option for third year, according to Sport Mediaset— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 13, 2013
Eto'o isn't going to jump at the first offer that comes his way by the sound of things, but Chelsea have to show a certain level of commitment as well. There is no question that the Blues have the talent necessary to win the EPL with or without Eto'o this season, but he could put them over the top.
Guys like Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku have had their moments for Chelsea and other squads in the past, but none of them have separated themselves from the others. Both Rooney and Eto'o have been worldwide stars for the past several years, and if Chelsea is unable to land Rooney, then Eto'o should be priority No. 1.
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