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
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat