Samuel Eto'o to Chelsea: Blues Sign Anzhi Makhachkala Star

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

Chelsea have reached an agreement with Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala to acquire veteran striker Samuel Eto'o.

We are delighted to announce the signing of Samuel Eto'o... #CFC

— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) August 29, 2013

The Blues also announced that Eto'o has signed a one-year deal with the club.

The 32-year-old has signed a one-year contract and on finalising the transfer he said: "I am very happy to be here but also anxious because I want to get playing as soon as possible.

"It wasn't a hard decision. I saw the qualities Chelsea have, and I was very happy with Jose Mourinho before, so when the opportunity came, I was very happy to take it."

Eto'o was once one of the premier strikers in Europe. He had successful stints with Barcelona and Inter Milan—where he played under current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho—after starting his career with Real Madrid. Two summers ago, he moved to Anzhi as the club began to build a formidable squad.

Things didn't exactly go according to plan for the Russian side as Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow continued to control the Russian Premier League. As a result, Eto'o becomes the latest marquee player to exit as Anzhi reshuffle once again.  

Eto'o scored more than 25 goals during his time with the club. While he was still able to demonstrate the natural finishing ability that made him a superstar, whether he's capable of performing on an elite level at age 32 and beyond remains a question mark.

The biggest key is his further development as a veteran player.

In his younger days, he was a pure striker with tremendous pace and finishing touch, which made him a menace for opposing back lines. Finding a way to stop him from taking over the match was a key piece of any game plan.

Now, he has lost a step and has been asked to play various roles in recent years. He has slowly started to utilize his experience in relying more on positioning and smart runs to open space for himself, which he used to do with pure pace.

Whether Eto'o can parlay that changed approach into lasting success is the biggest mystery surrounding his latest move. It's a deal that certainly doesn't come without risk, but there's also an upside element to it.

With this Eto'o-Mourinho reunion, Chelsea will hope Eto'o can rediscover some of that past magic, at least in the short term, to bolster their attack. If he does, it will turn out to be a great signing this late in the transfer window.

It's far from a guarantee, of course. The lost pace could cause Eto'o to become far less dynamic in the attacking third, especially against improved back lines, and the deal could become a bust. But there are very few no-risk moves available.

In the end, Eto'o can prove the doubters wrong with a strong campaign. Chelsea are hoping for exactly that.