Samuel Eto'o: Why the Anzhi Transfer Is a Terrible Thing for European Football

Colin StoneContributor IIIAugust 23, 2011

It's one of the most incredible and bizarre transfers of all time.

Samuel Eto'o, four-time African Player of the Year and scorer of over 240 career goals, signed with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for a €27-30 million fee, reports have suggested.

The former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan striker will apparently earn a cool €20m per season, which now makes him the highest-paid footballer in the world, eclipsing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi.

This ridiculous transfer has sent shockwaves across the footballing world and has left supporters and pundits scratching their heads over the Cameroonian's bewildering move.

Fans of the beautiful game will also be missing out on seeing one of the world's best strikers in action.

The live-wire forward scored over 100 goals during his five years at Barcelona, and despite a slow first season at Inter, came to life in his second, terrorising Serie A defences and netting 21 goals in the process.

Eto'o may score goals for fun in Russia, but it's clear for all to see that the African star had other motives for the move to Dagestan.

The standard of Russian football, though improving, is not even remotely close to what Eto'o experienced in La Liga and Serie A.

In spite of Anzhi bringing in some talented players in the past few months, including PSV's Balazs Dzsudzsak, Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov and Anderlecht's Mbark Boussoufa, the club is currently sitting fourth in the table—nine points behind league leaders CSKA Moscow.

This is a shame as it is obvious that Eto'o has left Inter Milan for, let's face it, the money.

And if things stay the way they are, Anzhi Makhachkala will miss out on the biggest stage of all: next year's Champions League.

After finishing a disappointing 10th in last year's Russian Premier League, billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov is determined for his cash-rich team to end the season in the highly-coveted European places—but with the likes of Spartak Moscow, Rubin Kazan and Kuban Krasnodar breathing down their necks, it's a big ask.

But even more disappointing for the casual football fan is that Russia's summer football season—aside from throwing Eto'o off kilter—is coming to a close.

Whilst the majority of European leagues are just getting started, the Cameroonian's new club only have nine games to go, which doesn't give football fans much time to see the new striker play in the yellow of Anzhi.

Inter Milan too are sure to suffer from the loss of Eto'o, as Gasperini's side now only have Goran Pandev and Giampaolo Pazzini as recognised strikers.

Massimo Moratti will be hard-pressed to find a replacement forward who can be as clinical as their previous marksman. 

All in all, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that this is completely the wrong move for the Cameroonian star. The 30-year-old is at the peak of his career and still has at least another five years of his prime left.

But the way things stand, it looks like this is one talented goalscorer whom we won't be seeing much of in the near future.

However, despite all these concerns over the striker's career choice, I'm sure that Eto'o and his €20 million will not care one iota.