Transfer news: Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o reveals he came 'within hours' of joining Arsenal back in 2000

Eto'o is set to make his debut this afternoon for the Blues but he has admitted he nearly joined their rivals when he left Real Madrid

Samuel Eto’o looks set to make his debut for Chelsea this evening when they take on Everton at Goodison Park, but he has revealed how he came close to signing for their London rivals Arsenal earlier in his career.

The striker has admitted that he was within hours of joining the Gunners back in 2000, but he instead signed for Real Mallorca after failing to break into the Real Madrid first-team.

Eto’o had spent the second half of the previous season on loan with the Spanish side, and he has said that a conversation with then-coach Luis Aragones led him to join the club on a permanent basis, turning down a move to Highbury.

“I met Luis (who went on to coach Spain) at a crucial moment in my life where I had to take the right direction - and thanks to him I did,” Eto'o said in an interview with The Sun.

“I was about to sign that very afternoon at Arsenal and maybe I would never have been the player I am today. Luis picked me, then I ended up joining Barcelona. That decision changed everything.”

Eto’o spent four years with Mallorca before he moved to the Nou Camp to join Barcelona in 2004, going on to become one of the most lethal finishers in the game.

During his time with the Catalan club, he won two Champions League titles, and three La Liga campaigns before heading to the San Siro to join up with Inter Milan and Jose Mourinho as part of the swap deal for Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Having had a frosty relationship with Mourinho due to the European rivalry between Barcelona and Chelsea, Eto’o was reluctant to play under the Portuguese manager, but he soon changed his mind once he got to know “The Special One” and the two have now linked up once again at Chelsea.

He spent two years in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala in-between his spell in Italy and his move to the Premier League, in which he became the highest paid footballer in the world, earning a reported £330,000-a-week.

Mourinho has moved to bring him to Stamford Bridge, having allowed Romelu Lukaku to join Everton on a season-long loan, and the Cameroonian will compete with Fernando Torres and Demba Ba to spearhead the talented Chelsea attack.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test