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Samuel Eto’o In Guangzhou Evergrande’s Sights?

Samuel Eto
Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o could be making a move to China after the World Cup in Brazil

Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o could be making a move to China after the World Cup in Brazil

News is spreading around the Internet that Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o and Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Evergrande are on the verge of agreeing to a contract which will bring the striker to the reigning champions after the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

According to an article posted on Goal.com, Evergrande head coach Marcello Lippi has made the 33-year-old his top priority signing during the summer transfer window. Eto’o, who played for English Premier League side Chelsea, will see his contract run out with the London-based club this summer and is free to go wherever he pleases.

While the Indomitable Lions captain maybe keen on a move to China, there seems to be one sticking point in the negotiations, according to the piece:

His wage demands of €10 million [£8.1m] per season have been the biggest drawback in the ongoing negotiations.

It looks like there might be a shakeup at the Tianhe Stadium as news of Eto’o’s potential move to Evergrande has come at the same time as the club are rumored to be looking at offers for Brazilian striker Elkeson. According to reports, the 24-year-old has drawn interest from Serie A sides Inter Milan and Napoli.

Elkeson has been an indespensible player for Evergrande as he has scored 48 goals in 60 appearances for the club, so it would take a substantial offer from either club to persuade Evergrande to part ways with their prized asset. The money they received from selling Elkeson could come in handy when dealing with contract talks with Eto’o as he will most certainly not come to China on the cheap.

However, it has also been reported that should Evergrande fail in signing Eto’o they will try to lure Italian international Alberto Gilardino to the team. Goal.com reports that Gilardino’s club, Genoa, are willing to let the 31-year-old go if Evergrande agrees to a 5-million euro transfer fee.

Since the Guangzhou Evergrande Real Estate Group took over the club in 2010, it has been on a mission to not only be dominant in China, it also wants to make a name for itself in Asia as well the entire world. They have made a huge impact with big money signings such as Brazilians Muriqui and Cleo, Argentine Dario Conca and Italian Alessandro Diamanti. They have also brought Chinese players such as Gao Lin, Zhang Linpeng and Sun Xiang who are core members of the Chinese men’s national team.

Money is certainly not an object for the reigning Asian champions and they are showing that they can compete with some of Europe’s heavyweights in the transfer market.

While Eto’o’s possible presence in the CSL will be huge, a question that is often brought in many of the top leagues in the world is how does Evergrande’s financial clout affect interest in the league?

Of course, it is interesting to see how the club has been able to roll through the competition, but with a bankroll that overshadows the likes of other teams in the CSL, interest may start to wane eventually. Clubs such as Beijing Guoan, Shanghai Shenhua (Greenland), Guangzhou R&F and Guizhou Renhe may be backed by powerful corporations, but so far all have played second fiddle to the might of Evergrande.

Eventually, CSL officials will have to come up with solutions to make sure there is more parity in the league, but as for now Evergrande can enjoy the ride as they look at potentially adding another international star to their roster.

Photos: AP, Sky Sports

Links and Sources:

  • Football Italia – Napoli and Inter track Elkeson
  • Inside Futbol – Asian Champions Guangzhou Evergrande Fix Eyes on Samuel Eto’o
  • China.org.cn – Evergrande Spring to quench Europe’s thirst
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