Veteran Samuel Eto'o Can Still Have an Impact for Chelsea

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2013

KHIMKI, RUSSIA - JULY 19: Samuel Eto'o of FC Anzhi Makhachkala looks on during the Russian Premier League match between FC Dinamo Moscow and FC Anzhi Makhachkala at the Arena Khimki Stadium on July 19, 2013 in Khimki, Russia.  (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images

Chelsea are close to finalising their fifth senior signing of the summer with the acquisition of striker Samuel Eto'o, with the Cameroonian attacker still more than capable of having a big impact for the Blues at 32 years of age.

While the Stamford Bridge club have been active in recruiting attackers for the second line of attack this summer, Eto'o's ability to play as the central striker will boost manager Jose Mourinho's options at the very top end of the pitch, alongside Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku.

BBC Sport report that Eto'o should sign from Anzhi Makhachkala on a free transfer with a one-year deal.

Demba Ba also remains a Chelsea striker at present, though rumours persist, as per the Daily Mirror, that he will leave before transfer deadline day.

While Eto'o is no longer the striker who blitzed La Liga with Barcelona utilising searing pace and dead-eye finishing, he remains a real threat who has developed his game significantly since then.

Playing in Italy with Inter Milan, Eto'o operated in a different role at times, forced into a more hardworking wide role to support the central striker from the channels. His pace enabled him to attack quickly on the counter when needed, and he learned to affect the attacking phases of play in different areas of the pitch without sacrificing his ability to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.

Moving on to Russia with Anzhi, Eto'o was frequently deployed in a withdrawn central attacking role behind another striker to let him influence the play more often. Although far from a natural playmaker, Eto'o's experience and successes allowed him to direct the less-talented players in a newly constructed side before attacking from deep himself.

He managed 10 goals from 25 league appearances for Anzhi last season, captaining the side into third place in the Russian Premier League. In total he hit 21 in 44 appearances, counting cup and Continental fixtures for his team.

With regards to what he can bring to Chelsea, he will not likely be an on-the-shoulder striker—for that they have Lukaku or Andre Schuerrle—given his adaptation to different roles over the past few seasons, but he can certainly be a more direct alternative than Torres has evolved to be.

Eto'o can also likely be more of an impact player off the bench, with his movement and ability to find space in the final third still highly impressive.

The former Barcelona man will also provide Jose Mourinho with the option, when required, of playing a second striker in his 4-2-3-1 system instead of utilising a more traditional No. 10 such as Oscar. While the Brazilian provides great reliability in possession retention and creativity, Eto'o is still far more likely to be a goal threat than Oscar or new signing Willian.

Meanwhile, Eto'o will be leaving behind a fast-sinking ship in Anzhi, who lose yet another of their big-money signings and look destined for a season of struggle. The Dagestan club have lost six players to rivals Dinamo Moscow alone, selling a dozen altogether and having changed their manager within weeks of the new season. Two points from their opening six games tells the story of how Eto'o is jumping off a sinking ship.

He might not be arriving to the Premier League in the prime of his career, but Eto'o is a proven winner who was part of Mourinho's treble-winning side at Inter in 2010.

If the Portuguese can eke out another season of achievement from the striker, Chelsea have another great attacking option at their disposal who knows how to make the difference in the biggest games of all.