Chelsea have a much maligned strike force, but Samuel Eto’o has been a key player for them, scoring crucial goals against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool. There have been doubts cast about the Eto’o’s age, most prominently from manager Jose Mourinho, but surely he has the ability to carry on for two or three years yet? Chelsea are likely to buy a big name striker in the summer, which will increase competition in the current squad as none of the Blues’ strikers have the ability to score twenty goals every season. However, Eto’o would be a really good player to have around in the squad, given his experience and goal scoring ability, especially in the big matches.
Having been in and out of the side all season, Eto’o has only managed to play in 19 matches and has a goal tally of 8. This is a good return when you take into consideration his age and amount of playing time, it comes in at just under a goal every other game. The Cameroonian has also made two assists this season, highlighting how he can provide the ammunition to Chelsea’s attacking trio, whoever lines up behind the striker. The most impressive part of Eto’o’s game is his cool head in front of goal. He is a very good finisher when he is given the opportunity to shoot inside the penalty box, as was evident with his goal on Saturday against Arsenal.
The biggest reason why the striker should get a new contract is his ability to score goals in the big games. It is crucial for every side to have a player like this, especially if there is to be another tight title race next season. He is very intelligent in the final third and his movement often leads to him finding enough space to get a shot away. A big name striker may come in next season and score plenty of goals, but he may lack experience in big games. This is something Samuel Eto’o has in abundance. Also Chelsea will need a strong squad and the Cameroonian would offer more as a rotational player than Fernando Torres or Demba Ba.
Prior to the game against Arsenal, the striker had a shooting accuracy of 59% and a chance conversion rate of 19%, which both show his ability in front of goal. Whereas Torres has a shooting accuracy of 54% and a chance conversion rate of 15%, also the Spaniard has only scored four goals this season, but he has played well and contributed to the team. Eto’o would be a better player next season as he has the ability to score a goal if he is brought on for the last 20 minutes, while Torres is a more conservative option. Even in a game where Chelsea scored six and were playing against ten men, the former Liverpool striker couldn’t find the net. He would benefit from a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer, but Eto’o is coming to the end of his career and he may be happier to operate as a squad player at a top side.
The main doubts about Eto’o are whether he would want to stay at Chelsea, especially after Mourinho’s recent comments about his age. It’s unclear whether the striker was offended by the comments made by his manager as some reports have suggested, or if he took them in a good way. His performances on the pitch suggest he is happy at Chelsea, but it is getting to the stage where a new contract needs to be discussed if both parties are happy to do so. The club should be eager to get the striker to commit to next season as he would be a very good option to have in the squad. Chelsea will need to have strength in depth as they will look to compete on four fronts again, which is why it’s important to keep a player of Eto’o’s quality, even if they are in the market for a big name striker in the summer.