What does Eto’o offer Chelsea that Lukaku doesn’t?

The Cameroon international has signed from Anzhi Makhachkala on a one-year deal and will bolster Jose Mourinho’s options in attack.

Chelsea have announced the signing of Samuel Eto’o, which brings to an end the club’s search for a high-profile forward. The Cameroon international has been linked with a switch to Stamford Bridge over the last number of weeks and his acquisition marks the end of the Blues’ attempts to sign Wayne Rooney from Manchester United.

Eto’o has been brought in to convert the chances that the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Oscar and Willian will produce, and will also be the focal point for the Chelsea attack. The African veteran has been bought to score goals, lot of them, but also offer a physical presence as the furthest man forward and hold up the ball, linking in with others.

There are a number of things that Eto’o brings to the club that they do not already have in the form of the rest of their strikers, but it could be argued that promising youngster Romelu Lukaku also possesses the bulk of the attributes that Eto’o has been signed for.

The new man certainly brings a wealth of experience to the club. Five years at Barcelona and two at Inter Milan show that the African is capable of playing at the very highest level. Four domestic league titles in that time and three Champions League medals show that Eto’o certainly knows how to win and as such will have that mentality at Chelsea.

Although the current crop of Chelsea strikers are more than able, it always seemed likely that a big-name would be signed to complete Mourinho’s jigsaw. Eto’o was previously the highest-paid player in world football at Anzhi and his reputation is second-to-none in the world game.

His goalscoring record is also strong, with his years at Barcelona his most potent. 55 international strikes for Cameroon is also something not to be scoffed at.

However, despite these plus points that Eto’o brings to Stamford Bridge, is his short-term signing a better option than giving Romelu Lukaku a consistent run in the team?

Yes Eto’o brings experience, physical attributes and a track record of goals to the club, but the Belgian has the ability to be just as good as him – if he is given a chance. The 20-year-old has the ability to hold up the ball and link-in with the attacking midfielders, offers pace over the top and a presence in attack, just like Eto’o.

Sure, he is untested at the highest level given that the bulk of his football has been played for Anderlecht and West Brom. Despite this, he has the potential to be transformed into one of the best in the Premier League if Mourinho would only give him an opportunity to show what he is capable of.

There is a feeling that the Portuguese coach does not yet trust Lukaku, and if that is the case the best thing to do is to allow him to go out on loan again and continue his progression with first-team football elsewhere.

Lukaku epitomises the future, while Eto’o represents the past. The Cameroon international has been brought to Stamford Bridge as a stop-gap solution for a year, before the Blues look for a world-class forward next summer. If they give Lukaku time on the pitch this season, the Belgian could well be elevated to world-class status and save them the search in 12 months time.

image: © Tom Cuppens

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