Everton have announced the signing of Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o, who joins the club on a free transfer. Eto'o, who had spent the previous season with Chelsea, was out of contract after his former club did not offer a new deal. The two-year deal will keep the striker at Goodison Park through 2016.
This signing is a clever bit of business as it adds much needed depth to the club with Europa League competition looming. Eto'o also brings invaluable experience in European competition, having won the Champions League in 2006 and 2009 FC Barcelona and 2010 with Inter Milan.
The Cameroon international notched 12 goals and 6 assists in 34 games last season when he reunited with former Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho.
Wages had been a major obstacle in signing Eto'o, but it would appear that the team was able to convince the striker to lower his demands, paving the way for him to sign with the club. Despite this, Eto'o will likely be one of the highest paid players on the squad.
Striker depth has been one of the biggest issues with this squad even after record signing Romelu Lukaku joined the club. Arouna Kone is still recovering from a long-term knee injury, leaving Steven Naismith as the only other striker on the squad. But with Ross Barkley out for the foreseeable future, Naismith has been called upon to play a deeper role, leaving the squad with no real options at centre-forward should Lukaku miss any time.
While he is no longer the world class striker he once was, Eto'o has shown that he still has something left in the tank and is likely to flourish under Roberto Martinez. The former Barcelona man will play an important role on this squad and the team would be hard-pressed to find a better option at this price. Eto'o also brings some versatility to Martinez's squad as the striker has show the ability to play on the wing, although he is much more comfortable operating as centre-forward.
The arrival of Eto'o means that Everton signing Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck to a permanent deal is unlikely. Martinez has previously stated that he would like to bring in the England international on a loan, but with other clubs lining up for Welbeck's signature, a loan may be hard to come by. With just under a week left in the transfer window, the Toffees have to act quickly if they are to secure any more signatures.
Roberto Martinez on the signing of Eto'o:
"We are very excited and I think Everton is the perfect home for him. The fans will make him ready and feel sharp but we have got to be a bit patient with the fitness levels and make sure he is back to his best."
Samuel Eto'o on joining Everton:
"I have been very impressed by the style of play Everton adopt. I could see straight away that at this club I will have the opportunity to play football. I had the chance to speak with the manager over the last few days and we agreed that this was what we would do."
Samuel Eto’o will wear the number five shirt this season. #WelcomeSamuel— Everton (@Everton) August 26, 2014