Even though English Premier League club Everton is trying to stay out of the relegation zone this season, manager Roberto Martinez has just unloaded one of his top strikers Samuel Eto’o during the January transfer window. Everton may have been in 12th place in the 20-team Premier League as of January 25th, but the reality is they have just 23 points in 22 games and are only four points above the relegation zone. The Liverpool club was 29 points behind league-leading Chelsea and just six points above last-place team Leicester City. Everton, who has dropped 43 of a possible 66 points so far, has won a woeful five games on the season to go along with nine losses and eight draws.
However, Martinez has sold former Cameroon international captain Eto´o to Sampdoria of the Italian Serie A. The 33-year-old was presented to the Italian team’s fans on January 25 during Sampdoria’s 1-1 draw against Palermo. Eto’o was kept on the bench for most of the season even though Everton has struggled mightily. Martinez handed him just eight starts and 14 league appearances in total and Eto’o scored three goals in them, set up another, and had 28 shots at net. He also had a goal in three Europa League games.
According to bet365, Everton is 22/1 to be relegated and 4/5 to finish in the bottom half of the league.
Fans are rightfully wondering how Everton intends to dig themselves out of their current mess by shipping out one of the squad’s best players. They’re also asking why Eto’o wasn’t played more by Martinez after the club signed him as a free agent from Chelsea just five months ago. Eto’o is a four-time winner of the African player of the year award and is one of the best pure goalscorers the sport has ever seen. He said he’s already passed his medical and is looking forward to a new challenge with Sampdoria.
Eto’o is familiar with the top tier of Italian soccer since he headed there in 2009 and spent two seasons with Inter Milan. He had no problem finding the back of the net in Italy as he scored 53 goals for Inter in 101 games with them. Eto’o has also played for several of the world’s other top clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Mallorca in Spain as well as Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. Eto’o is Cameroon’s all-time leading scorer with 56 goals in 118 matches and holds the all-time scoring record in the African Cup of Nations tournament with 18. At the time of the move to Sampdoria, Eto’o had 308 goals in 627 career club games and had set up another 100. But he doesn’t seem to be good enough for Everton.
This move could backfire on Martinez and Everton could soon find themselves fighting for survival in the Premier League for the remainder of the 2014/15 season.