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Tottenham missed out on Samuel Eto’o in 2002

Tottenham Hotspur have signed some quality talents over the years, however, have often been forced to turn players into stars rather than buy them readymade.

This has been the case with most of their current squad, with Harry Kane and Heung-min Son both rising from relative obscurity to become world-class players.

However, back in 2002, they were nearly the side that snatched a sensational Samuel Eto’o from Mallorca. This would have been two years before he would make his move to Barcelona.

The Athletic reported 18 years after that summer: “Samuel Eto’o was another centre-forward linked at that time with Spurs and other English clubs, but none were willing to take a punt on the 21-year-old, who was then at Real Mallorca.”

The Cameroonian striker obviously did not move to north London, but instead went on to play for a whole host of Europe’s elite. Across spells at the Catalonian giants and Inter Milan, he won three Champions Leagues – cementing his status as a “legend” of the game.

With 362 goals across his career, including 130 goals in 199 games for Barcelona, he truly was a fierce marksman with pace and power in abundance.

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Daniel Levy does not often make many big transfer blunders, but this decision, just one year into his tenure, to snub this deal must go down as one of his worst.

Although a strike force of Teddy Sheringham and Robbie Keane at the time was certainly impressive, Eto’o will likely be remembered as one of the finest strikers of his generation.

Even during the twilight of his career, during a small stint at Everton, Roberto Martinez lauded him as an “incredible professional”.

Spurs would have surely managed better than a 10th-placed finish during the 2002/03 season if they had him as part of their squad.

Who would Eto'o have started over, had he signed in 2002?

Teddy Sheringham

Teddy Sheringham

Robbie Keane

Robbie Keane



He may not have catapulted them to certain glory, but they would have been far closer to it than the period of mediocrity they suffered whilst Eto’o was busy scoring goals and winning trophies.

It would have gone down as one of the best pieces of business in the club’s history, but instead will be remembered as one that got away.