Manchester City are facing an 11th hour rejection in their £25m pursuit of Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o, with suggestions from the Catalan club that he is demanding almost 50 per cent of the transfer fee to go with his £180,000-a-week wages at Eastlands.
Eto'o's agent, Josep Maria Mesalles, will make clear the 28-year-old Cameroon striker's intentions at a press conference this morning and the prevailing view from Spain is that City's hopes of persuading the player to sacrifice European football for a part in their ongoing project are to be dashed.
City, who also felt they were close to signing then Milan player Kaka in January, will be distraught to find yet another marquee signing eluding them when they had been led to believe that the prospects of signing him were strong.
Mesalles claimed yesterday that Eto'o is more inclined to see out his contract at the Nou Camp, which expires in 2010. Sources at the Catalan club suggested Eto'o's representatives were demanding €15m (£12.7m) of the transfer fee. The club have refused and Mesalles' move appears to be a display of his determination to dig his heels in.
"If there is not a 180-degree turnaround then he will stay with Barcelona," Mesalles told a Spanish radio station. City – who have not entirely given up on the hope of adding Chelsea's John Terry to their ranks, with the pursuit of Joleon Lescott continuing – had hoped to be able to announce the signings this week of both Eto'o and Carlos Tevez, whose £25.5m move to City is one which should be confirmed within the next week.