Chelsea Transfer News: Samuel Eto'o Is Not the Answer for Jose Mourinho

Joe Strange@joe_strangeContributor IAugust 28, 2013

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 28: Salvatore Bocchetti (L) of FC Spartak Moscow is challenged by Samuel Eto'o of FC Anzhi Makhachkala during the Russian Premier League match between FC Spartak Moscow and FC Anzhi Makhachkala at the Luzhniki Stadium on April 28, 2013 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Dmitry Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Dmitry Korotayev/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho's decision to start without a recognised striker for Chelsea's game with Manchester United on Monday was a clear indication that he's unhappy with his options up front.

Wayne Rooney has been a long-term target this summer, but according to John Drayton of the Daily Mail, Anzhi Makhachkala forward Samuel Eto'o is on the verge of a move to Stamford Bridge. His report states: 

Chelsea are closing in on their swoop for Samuel Eto'o from Anzhi Makhachkala and the deal should be completed within 48 hours.

They have already signed Willian from Anzhi pending a work permit hearing on Wednesday and Eto'o's transfer will be part of the same £32m financial package.

The deal for the Cameroon striker would initially be on a one-year deal.

Although the addition of Eto'o would add extra depth to Chelsea's squad for the season ahead, his signing could create an unforeseen issue for years to come: the disruption of the progression of talented young forward Romelu Lukaku.

The Cameroon international has enjoyed an excellent career so far, scoring goals wherever he's been and causing a constant threat to opposition defences.

But at 32 years old, he is a player past his prime. He simply does not fit into Chelsea's new policy of securing young players with huge potential.

That's not to say the former Barcelona star wouldn't be a hit in West London if he does put pen to paper on a year-long contract.

Despite now plying his trade in Russia, Eto'o has continued to show the quality and natural finishing ability that made him one of Europe's most feared strikers of the last decade.

He has not lost his goal-scoring touch—bagging 36 goals since moving to Russia in 2011—and could still be a danger to Premier League defences up and down the country between now and May.

However, the fact that the Blues are only offering him a deal until the end of the season is a clear sign that Mourinho sees the striker as a stopgap measure for his first season back at the Bridge.

The Special One's move for Rooney looks increasingly like failing, with Ben Smith of BBC Sport claiming that the striker has no plans to hand in a transfer request before deadline day:

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney has no plans to force a move to Chelsea by handing in a transfer request.

Chelsea have already made two unsuccessful bids for Rooney.

But the striker, who has indicated he wants to leave Old Trafford, has now been reintegrated into the United squad and started the 0-0 Premier League draw against Chelsea on Monday.

With the end of the transfer window fast approaching, Mourinho appears determined to land a new forward, even if it isn't his No. 1 choice Rooney.

Snapping up Eto'o as part of the deal for Willian would seem to make financial sense, although the former Inter Milan forward will likely demand huge wages after earning a reported £300,000 a week in Russia.

The Blues' Portuguese boss clearly has reservations about Fernando Torres after his dramatic loss of form since leaving Liverpool, while January signing Demba Ba has been linked with a move to Roma by Charles Perrin of The Daily Express.

But the former Real Madrid boss would be wise to show faith in youngster Lukaku, rather than bring the aging Eto'o into a squad full of young, vibrant attackers.

The Belgian striker hit 17 league goals during a loan spell at West Brom last season and proved himself more than capable of adjusting to the physical nature of top-flight English football.

Despite starring in preseason, Lukaku has managed just two substitute appearances in Chelsea's first three games.

Mourinho may feel that the former Anderlecht player is too young to be his main man this season at only 20 years old, and the more experienced Eto'o would be a safer option as the Chelsea boss looks to challenge for silverware both domestically and in Europe.

But, as the old saying goes, if you're good enough, you're old enough.

Another season sat on Chelsea's bench and playing in the odd cup game would harm Lukaku's progression. He has the talent, so why not utilise it now?

A move for Eto'o would not only be a backward step and completely unnecessary, but it could also negatively affect the career of one of the world's most promising young strikers.