Samuel Eto’o’s move to Sampdoria ends an unsuccessful spell at Goodison Park under Roberto Martinez. However, with Everton struggling in the Premier League this season, were the Toffees in the right position to let the experienced striker go?
Eto’o had only been an Everton player for five months since his move from fellow Premier League rivals Chelsea in August. The transfer was greeted with a real sense of anticipation and the Everton boss Roberto Martinez described his switch to Goodison Park as ‘a gift from the footballing gods’.
So why has a player who scored three league goals from limited game time in a struggling side be allowed to leave at time when the club could do with his stature and experience the most?
The iconic striker wasn’t short of offers either. Eto’o’s agent told the Mirror: “He’s chosen Genoa and he’s really motivated. In the last few hours, an offer arrived from Santos, which was greater from a financial viewpoint, but he isn’t interested in it.
“His family lives in Milan and he dreams of playing in such a passionate place like Genoa to finish his career.”
He added: “He’s going to live in Genoa and is not going to commute between Milan and Genoa, like I’ve heard there being talk of him doing. He’s a great professional and has done well wherever he has been.”
The former Cameroon international has scored goals wherever he has played. Successful spells with Barcelona and Inter Milan, where he won the Champions League three times – twice with Barca, once with Inter – have led the 33-year-old all the way to the English Premier League, the place where he was expected to finish his glittering career.
The four-time African Footballer of the Year scored over 300 career goals in club football, a record that has seen him accumulate transfer fees of a staggering £75.7m, and remains one of the world’s most decorated strikers.
His goalscoring prowess makes Everton’s decision to let him leave even more of a mystery. The Toffees currently linger just four points off the bottom three, in what can only be described as a disastrous Premier League campaign thus far. Martinez’s side have only mustered up five league wins all season, and they really need to start turning their fortunes around if they want to avoid being dragged into a genuine dogfight.
The little time we saw of Eto’o in an Everton shirt he looked bright, he looked as though he still had the hunger for the game and the ability to score goals. Only Romelu Lukaku (6), Steven Naismith (5) and Kevin Mirallas (5) had scored more Premier League goals than the ex-Barcelona and Chelsea man.
Whether it was Eto’o or Everton’s decision for him to leave Merseyside, it’s still a real mystery as to why the Cameroonian’s love affair with the Toffees lasted a mere five months. We will have to wait and see if the decision turns out to be right or wrong, but what is for sure is that Everton have lost a player who still has the ability to provide much-needed goals when called upon.