Last month speculation arose that Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o could be headed to Major League Soccer with Toronto FC the rumored destination.
Despite TFC’s need to add two to three designated players, many hemmed and hawed over the rumor.
Today, The Guardian is reporting that the veteran Cameroon forward is expected to move to Major League Soccer but it won’t be to Southern Ontario.
Wanting a move to the US rather than Canada, it’s believed Eto’o will move to Los Angeles Galaxy, DC United and Club Deportivo Chivas USA, Seattle Sounders or Chicago Fire.
Since arriving at Chelsea this past summer on a one-year deal from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for a cut-price $8.2 million, Eto’o has scored two goals in nine Premier League matches while also netting twice in the 3-0 win over Schalke in the Champions League.
Signed on deadline-day, Eto’o was widely believed to be a stop-gap for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho following his failure to sign Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and his decision to loan out Romelu Lukaku to Everton. Used in rotation with Fernando Torres and to a lesser extent, Demba Ba, Eto’o has won decent plaudits.
The three strikers have combined for a meager four league goals between them, which was enough to set Mourinho off in a post-match rant following his side’s 3-2 loss to Stoke City on Saturday. With options limited and Lukaku due back at Stamford Bridge next summer, the Portuguese boss is believed to be unwilling to dip into the January transfer window for a new striker.
“At the end of the season we will be in better condition to analyze our squad, to analyze the market and, normally, make a couple of changes to improve the team for next season,” said Mourinho, “but this season, we are ready to go to the end with the same people.”
Exactly where Eto’o may land in MLS remains a point of intrigue. Whatever side does manage to scoop him up will do so on a free transfer, a bonus to a potentially costly acquisition. At Anzhi, Eto’o earned $28 million per year, the highest salary in the world. This year at Chelsea that figure was slashed to $11 million.
Whether Eto’o can make an impact in MLS is another point of debate. While adjusting to the change from Russian to English Premier Leagues is no easy feat, the Cameroonian legend has shown flashes of form but has failed to provide a consistent attacking threat. Surrounded be talented, creative players at Chelsea, his inability to record a consistent goal haul is a bit worrying.
Nevertheless, the 32-year-old remains one of the games very best goal-poachers and few will doubt the quality and impact he could have in America.
Eto’o is expected to open pre-contract talks with MLS clubs in January before departing for the United States at the end of the campaign.