Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Samuel Eto'o Not Needed at Old Trafford

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

KHIMKI, RUSSIA - JULY 19: Samuel Eto'o of FC Anzhi Makhachkala looks on during the Russian Premier League match between FC Dinamo Moscow and FC Anzhi Makhachkala at the Arena Khimki Stadium on July 19, 2013 in Khimki, Russia.  (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images

Manchester United’s summer has been defined by the potential sale of Wayne Rooney, but as we head into the transfer window’s final week, the Old Trafford faithful will be surprised to see rumours of a potential bid for Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto’o.

As reported by ESPN, the Red Devils are set to compete with Chelsea for the Cameroonian striker’s signature. He is no longer needed at the Anzhi Arena and is eager to prioritise a Premier League move over a return to Inter Milan:

The agent of Samuel Eto'o has revealed that there are three clubs after the Anzhi Makhachkala striker, with Chelsea and Manchester United being two of them.

Claudio Vigorelli, who represents the Cameroonian, revealed to Italy's Sportmediaset TV that three clubs currently come into question for the 32-year-old. Former side Inter Milan are one of them, although they will have to take their place in line behind Chelsea and United.

Such a deal is far from what David Moyes’ men need, even if Rooney leaves the club. Despite Eto’o being a proven world-class talent, the experienced striker isn’t what Manchester United should hunt at this point in time, as his acquisition would only suffocate the potential of other forwards waiting to make their mark.

At the top of this list remains a patient Javier Hernandez. The Mexican is a firm favourite at United and has played an important role during the past three years, scoring 50 goals in 117 appearances. Much like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of yesteryear, the striker has more to offer than goals from the bench. He deserves a shot in the starting lineup and should be rewarded for his dedication to the club.

As reported by Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, Chicharito recently rejected a move to Valencia in favour of a fight for his place in Moyes' first-team plans. Eduardo Hernandez, the player’s agent, was quoted as saying:

Valencia were really interested. I had the opportunity to talk to the sporting director but Javier wants to consolidate himself in Manchester.

Manchester United is his challenge. It has nothing to do with money. He wants to play and get a starting spot at United. He knows that he is in a very competitive team and that he must fight every day for his place from the dressing room to the training field.

But he is not afraid. He told me he is more motivated than ever.

Moyes would be unwise to acquire Eto’o and push Hernandez further down the pecking order. As seen during his Barcelona days, Eto’o is not the type of player who takes kindly to warming the bench, so this would only promote a slew of problems, especially when you consider Angelo Henriquez also deserves a crack at the first team.

More pressingly, the signing of a striker would overlook Manchester United’s main needs. Moyes must strengthen a lightweight midfield with at least one destroyer before the transfer window closes. The ongoing bid for Marouane Fellaini, as reported by Charles Perrin of the Express, needs to be wrapped up before looking for additional attacking options.

At this stage of the window, Moyes needs to stamp his authority over the squad with a marquee midfield signing. Sir Alex Ferguson constantly overlooked the need to bolster a central area that is crying out for the physical presence of someone in Fellaini’s ilk.

Although failed bids for Cesc Fabregas suggested Moyes is looking for creative spark, his pursuit of Fellaini finally addresses the needs of the Premier League champions.

As such, both Manchester United’s rumoured interest in Eto’o and the claims of the player’s agent appear completely out of place. Moyes has reiterated that Rooney is not for sale, as reported by Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail, and any breaking of this promise would immediately promote distrust amongst the Old Trafford faithful.

Similarly, until United confirm their interest in Eto'o, his rumoured deal could be seen as leverage to secure a favourable contract elsewhere. This is a player who has long been motivated by money and could demand £300,000 at his new club, according to Jamie Sanderson of the Metro.

United paying anywhere near this mark would only cause problems within the club's first-team, as Eto'o is not the man for whom they should break the bank. Right now, Moyes doesn't need to add to his striking options and must land at least one midfielder before the window closes.

If Eto'o was to be brought in before a midfield target, the new boss would have failed on his most immediate and obvious task as Old Trafford boss.