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Is Samuel Eto'o an adequate alternative to Wayne Rooney?

After both Chelsea and Manchester United were linked with striker Samuel Eto'o, Sports Mole assesses whether the Cameroon forward is an adequate alternative to Wayne Rooney.

Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o has spent the past two seasons plying his trade in Russia for Anzhi Makhachkala.

It's no secret that the move was strongly motivated by the astronomical wages being handed out by the wealthy Russian outfit, but that has not stopped the 32-year-old being linked with a couple of Europe's top sides.

Earlier this week, Chelsea were linked with a swoop for the former Barcelona striker, with their efforts to sign Manchester United's Wayne Rooney continuing to receive no encouragement.

Reports have emerged this morning that United could also hold an interest in Eto'o, which could equally make Rooney's switch to Stamford Bridge more likely.

Sports Mole assesses the qualities of both players and how they would fit in at either club.


Samuel Eto'o© PA Photos
Samuel Eto'o

Much could be made of the fact that the strike-rate of Eto'o is no better in domestic action in Russia than it was when he left Inter Milan in 2011.

However, you only have to look at the frontman's statistics in Europe to see that he is still capable of success at the top level, with Eto'o scoring nine times in Europe last season.

That is one figure that Chelsea and Manchester United will see as a positive in their pursuit of the former Barcelona hitman, but will either club be put off by the striker turning 33 next March?

In Chelsea's case, age won't come into it. Didier Drogba was 34 and still producing the goods at Stamford Bridge, and new coach Jose Mourinho is unlikely to baulk at the chance of handing Eto'o a two-year contract.

But despite their reported interest, United are unlikely to splash the cash on a 32-year-old, especially with their strength in depth in the attacking department.

What both outfits will need to consider is whether Eto'o can adapt to their respective style of play, and how they would incorporate the African into their lineup.

Moving to Chelsea would most likely see Eto'o overtake Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku in the pecking order in attack, but the striker will not receive preferential treatment over Robin van Persie at Old Trafford, and he could see himself on the bench if he opted to move to Manchester United.


Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United on December 9, 2012© Getty Images
Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney's unhappiness at Old Trafford has dominated the headlines for the best part of a month, and his desire for a transfer is intensifying as we move nearer to the closure of the transfer window.

The 27-year-old has missed his club's pre-season campaign and his lack of match-fitness was evident during England's 3-2 victory over Scotland on Wednesday night.

The former Everton trainee is at the stage of his career where he needs the stability to flourish, wherever he plies his trade over the next few years.

The uncertainty that surrounds the forward is one that will not benefit club, country or himself, and firm decisions need to be made in the next couple of weeks.

Mourinho is known to be a big fan of Rooney's qualities, but it is unclear where the England international would operate at Stamford Bridge, with the club stacked with plenty of striking options.

It's also unclear how Rooney would fare in the number nine position, and if he wasn't deemed a success in the opening couple of months at Stamford Bridge, what is to stop him going down a similar route to Torres?

If Rooney has a change of heart and commits himself to his current employers, that will enable him with the most secure platform to fulfil his potential and write himself into the history books at Old Trafford.

But if he continues his stance of wishing to depart United, he will be taking perhaps the biggest risk of his career.

Verdict?

The general feeling is that there could be plenty of mileage left in discovering the final destination of both players before we reach September 2.

But with Chelsea's interest in Eto'o growing stronger, and the Cameroonian revealing that he would be open to the move, Mourinho could opt to strike a deal with Anzhi.

In theory, it's one that could have the greater short-term success for the Blues, rather than forcing Rooney into a lineup that is already top-heavy with options.

We have witnessed in the past that Rooney is capable of making a U-turn on his United future, and it wouldn't come as a huge surprise if he did the same once again.

The 27-year-old requires a season of consistency ahead of a potential World Cup with England next summer, and providing that he is welcomed back into the mix at Old Trafford, there is no better stage for him to be playing his football ahead of the tournament in Brazil.

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