Speculation over Mata and Rooney provided plenty of Chelsea transfer news in the closing stages of the summer 2013 transfer window, however on the last day the key debate was more practical – Chelsea had bolstered their forward line by the smart purchase of Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o. However, the Blues also offloaded youngster Romelu Lukaku on loan to Everton to further his progress. Would this transfer work out?
Eto’o was not the first choice target for Chelsea. The Blues have made no secret of their intentions to sign Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, with Jose Mourinho even issuing him an ultimatum. It is only after missing out on so many forwards; they went for Eto’o, who was available on the market.
The signing makes sense from various angles. Any manager wants to bring his own type of players and Jose is of no exception. For him to trust a player, it is better to buy someone with whom he has operated successfully in the past, than handling a youngster, who has only impressed last season on loan with a mid-table club.
With other strikers at the club, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba clearly lacking in confidence, it would have been a nightmare for a manager like Jose, who is success-driven, to work with a 20-year-old kid only. In that respect, Eto’o, 32, not only adds competition in the side, as pointed out by technical director Michael Emenalo, but would add sufficient experience to this squad.
Plus, Lukaku is very young, raw and still not a finished product. He would get a better platform at Everton and under a very good manager in Roberto Martinez, will take his education to a new level, where he would be good enough to play for the first team at Chelsea next season.
But, will Eto’o get enough games at Chelsea? It is obvious that Torres and Ba would be given more chances than him, and likewise, if he doesn’t get more chances, his chances of scoring are also less. Then what difference his inclusion makes to the team apart from bringing in experience?
Eto’o, who operates from wide areas in a 4-3-3 formation (both at Barcelona and Inter Milan), can also play as a lone striker, but he has lost few yards of pace, which was his main attribute. Will he do any better than Lukaku this season?
There are every chance that Lukaku in a less pressurized environment will rack up another 15 plus goals to his name, while Chelsea strikers may scratch their head and kick their boot to match that.
Will this short term plan work for Chelsea?