The Cameroonian reunited with the Portuguese manager in his return to the bench at Stamford Bridge this term, joining on a free transfer from Anzhi Makhachkala.
At Inter the pair won an historic treble together following the striker’s move from Barcelona in exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, departing San Siro in successive years following the triumph.
Eto’o made the switch to Russia in August 2011 – becoming the world’s highest paid player – but financial meltdown for Anzhi saw him land in the Premier League five months ago.
At 32 the veteran’s viability as a main striker has been heavily debated – though a hat trick against Manchester United certainly helped his case – even as he is only on a one-year deal in west London.
Last week the striker confirmed he would move on to former side Mallorca at season’s end at the behest of his son – a native of the Balearic Islands due to his father’s time at the Iberostar Stadium.
But Mourinho has cast doubt over whether Eto’o will head back to Los Bermellones – playing in Spain’s second division after being relegated in the previous campaign – just yet.
“Eto’o is a great player, with an extraordinary career, and although he is of a certain age, is not in the same position as Chelsea’s other veterans,” he said in Tuesday’s press conference.
“He had never played in the Premier League and wanted to come here to Chelsea, however I do not know if he will be here at the end of the season – though he may remain.
“He may go to Mallorca to keep his promise to his son, or could even go back to Italy with Inter.”
It’s unclear what Mourinho’s level of insight is with regards to the forward’s future plans – whilst the Portuguese has never been shy of getting tongues wagging.
There’s no reason Eto’o wouldn’t be amenable to staying at Stamford Bridge, though without a new deal on the table and a big-name striker possibly arriving in the summer, such a scenario could well not be an option.
He still has plenty to give, however, and if Mallorca fail to gain promotion he may be hesitant to see his career already brought to second tier football.
Would Inter have him back? New owner Erick Thohir is known to be hesitant to lavish sums on transfers and Eto’o would cost nothing – whilst boss Walter Mazzarri is thought to desire a new striker.
He’d be 33 at the time, not necessarily the most prudent option for a side looking to rebuild after years of freefall – but don’t rule it out as management may see it as a way to placate supporters angry over the club’s fall from grace.
image: © ennaimi