Tottenham Hotspur's hopes of signing Samuel Eto'o appear doomed to failure as the Barcelona striker is earning £128,000 a week – after tax. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is prepared to fly out to Spain to try to broker the deal and although the Premier League club believe they can cope with the transfer fee, and hope to negotiate Barça down from the £27m they are currently demanding, Eto's wages are prohibitive.
Barça are set for a summer of upheaval following the imminent departure of coach Frank Rijkaard with a clear-out of the squad planned. Eto'o has come close to leaving in the past but now it appears that he is one of the big names – along with Ronaldinho and Deco – who can go.
Barça are attempting to drum up interest in Eto'o, with the Italian giants Milan and Internazionale linked with a move while agents are contacting Chelsea to see if they want to buy the Cameroonian. Manchester United were keen last summer but are less so after the striker's indifferent season and injury concerns.
Eto'o is a notoriously difficult character to negotiate with and is renowned for changing his mind, but this week he talked up the merits of the Premier League. Even though they cannot offer Champions League football, Spurs had hoped to steal a march on their rivals. But although they are willing to smash their wage structure, and are working on ways to fund the deal through the sale of Dimitar Berbatov to a European club – they do not want the Bulgarian to stay in England if he leaves White Hart Lane – the news that Eto'o is paid €8m (£6.6m) a year net of tax will stun them.
Spurs are monitoring a number of Spanish-based strikers including Diego Milito of Real Zaragoza and Valencia's David Villa, which is no surprise given the nationality of their head coach, Juande Ramos. A more realistic target is another Barça striker, Giovani Dos Santos. The 19-year-old Mexican is meeting with his agent, Pini Zahavi, next week to discuss his future. The player's father has said that Manchester City are favourites to sign Giovani, who would cost around €10m (£7.8m) although there is also interest from Chelsea. Given the changes at Barça it may be that he remains at the Nou Camp or is allowed to go out on a season-long loan.
It is likely to be a busy summer for Spurs under Ramos, who is keen to overhaul the squad he inherited from Martin Jol and has already signed Luka Modric for £16m. A priority remains a new goalkeeper, with Paul Robinson likely to be sold, although the Brazilian club Cruzeiro has claimed that they rejected a bid for their striker Marcelo Moreno. However if Spurs increase their offer for the 20-year-old Bolivian – currently €6m (£5m) – it is likely to succeed.
Spurs are also likely to face a compensation battle with Crystal Palace over midfielder John Bostock. The 16-year-old has decided to move to Spurs but Palace's assistant manager Mick Jones insisted that he "can't come cheap".Reuse content