Inter Milan are eyeing up a sensational return for Samuel Eto'o after the Chelsea striker's reported frustration toward comments made by Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
As revealed by Sky Italia and via Adriano Boin of Forza Italian Football, the Serie A side is allegedly tempted to usher in a new era with one of its old faces spearheading the attack:
New owner Erick Thohir is keen to reshape the squad this summer and it appears as though the Cameroonian’s return to the Giuseppe Meazza could be part of the club’s plans this summer.
Sky Sport Italia report that (Inter sporting director, Piero) Ausilio had dinner with Eto's agent, Claudio Vigorelli, during his recent trip to London.
Eto'o has been on the end of embarrassing headlines in recent days after Mourinho was filmed criticising Chelsea's strikers in a private conversation. French television station Canal Plus aired footage of the Portuguese manager bemoaning his lack of prolific forwards and questioning Eto'o's age.
Matt Barlow and Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail reported the offending comments:
Former Cameroon boss Claude Le Roy told Canal Plus he had spoken to Eto'o, who was "very annoyed" after the comments came to light, reported by the station and via ESPN.
Eto'o featured for just 22 minutes during Chelsea's 1-1 Champions League draw with Galatasaray but was quoted saying "I have no trouble with Mourinho" after watching on as Fernando Torres netted a crucial away goal, reported by Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph.
The Cameroonian striker highlighted his confidence after the match, suggesting he could score goals until the age of 50, while also acknowledging he won't let this situation negatively impact Chelsea behind the scenes, per an alternate ESPN article:
Fortunately I can still score goals at 35-36 years. If at 36 and 37 I can score three goals at Manchester City it means that I still have some juice and I can even score until I am 50.
It takes more to worry me [than Mourinho's comments], I'm Samuel Eto'o. I really don't care, what is really important to me is to give my maximum to the team, to help them to win some titles.
Certain things happen in life, you have to face them. I'm not going to cause problems in the dressing room.
Mourinho continued to suggest he needs more attacking power after the draw with Galatasaray, as quoted in Wilson's report:
That's our team. Some other teams have three chances and score three goals. We have five and score one. This is not a criticism of the strikers, like sometimes people think. It’s just the profile of the team we have.
Chelsea blew a number of early chances after scoring at the Turk Telekom Arena before coming under pressure in the second half. Although Torres stuck away an open goal, he was largely frustrated after Roberto Mancini tightened the Turkish side's defence with a formation switch.
Eto'o was called upon to make an impact in the 68th minute, but the home side was undoubtedly the more threatening by this stage. Even so, Eto'o remains Chelsea's top-scoring striker this season with eight goals in 23 appearances, recorded by WhoScored.com.
Inter's reported interest may appeal to Eto'o's sentimental side and could offer the player an exciting end to a silverware-laden career. He won the Italian top flight, Coppa Italia and Champions League during his first spell at the San Siro between 2009-11, helping Mourinho to achieve the treble during their initial tenure working together.
Rodrigo Palacio is currently the Nerazzurri's top scorer with 11 goals this campaign. Considering left-back Yuto Nagatomo is next in line with five, it's clear Walter Mazzarri's team needs an injection of attacking impetus.
Eto'o could provide exactly that for the next couple of seasons.
The former Barcelona star has replaced his outright speed with a hardworking attacking ethic that ensures he avidly patrols Chelsea's forward line. While his general sharpness is starting to wane, his appetite to help the team appears to be improving.
Inter would be wise to use the incident with Mourinho as leverage to land Eto'o, who could aid the club's rebuilding process under its new regime.