African superstar Samuel Eto’o will test himself in English soccer after Chelsea announced on Thursday that he has joined the Premier League giants on a one-year contract.
The 32-year-old Cameroon striker arrives from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala on a free transfer, which may mean the end of Chelsea’s pursuit of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.
Chelsea have had two bids for Rooney rejected and manager Jose Mourinho recently admitted that he had a “Plan B” in case their pursuit of the England international did not come off.
“I am very happy to be here, but also anxious because I want to get playing as soon as possible,” said Eto’o, who was pictured brandishing a Chelsea shirt on the club’s Web site. “It wasn’t a hard decision. I saw the qualities Chelsea have, and I was very happy with Jose Mourinho before, so when the opportunity came, I was very happy to take it.”
Eto’o previously worked under Mourinho at Inter and was a member of the team that claimed an unprecedented treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League titles in 2010.
The move also reunites him with former Anzhi team-mate Willian, who completed a switch to Chelsea in a deal reportedly worth ￡30 million (US$47 million).
Willian and Eto’o are among a number of players to have been moved on by Anzhi after the Russian side’s billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov decided to restructure the club and drastically shrink its budget.
Eto’o is expected to compete with Fernando Torres, Romelu Lukaku and Demba Ba for a place at the tip of the Chelsea attack, although he played on the right flank under Mourinho at Inter.
Eto’o began his career in European soccer at Real Madrid, but joined Real Mallorca in 2000. He lifted the Copa del Rey with Mallorca in 2003 before joining Barcelona a year later.
Eto’o won the Africa Cup of Nations twice with Cameroon and played in the team that won at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.