x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

How Inter Milan could do with Samuel Eto'o now

Inter, in an alarming slump of form, are realising how much they miss not just the goals but the gumption of the Cameroon striker.

amuel Eto'o watches the African Cup of Nations final between Zambia and Ivory Coast.
amuel Eto'o watches the African Cup of Nations final between Zambia and Ivory Coast.

Samuel Eto'o has had a jet-set week. The serial European champion made it to Libreville, Gabon on Sunday to watch the African Cup of Nations final. When the cameras picked him out for the big screen, a roar went up from the crowd watching Zambia against Ivory Coast.

The next day he was in Milan, where he still has a home from his Inter days, those two seasons he filled with goals - at a rate of one every two games, despite being employed essentially as a midfielder much of the time under Jose Mourinho - and a full flush of medals, Champions League, scudetto and Coppa Italia.

He will soon be back on the regular shuttle flights between Moscow and Dagestan for the Russian season, now that he is employed by the big-paying Anzhi Makhachkala. The surprise is that nobody with Inter allegiances tried to kidnap and keep him this week. Inter, in an alarming slump of form, are realising how much they miss not just the goals but the gumption of Eto'o.

Last August they had been pleased to gain a fee from Anzhi that could reach €21 million (Dh100m) for a player 30 years old. That already looks poor compensation. Part of Inter's problems have come from their failure to replace the Cameroonian.

In Eto'o's wake, Diego Forlan, Ricky Alvarez, Luc Castaignos and Mauro Zarate have all arrived, for an aggregate cost of over €15m. They have scored five goals between them in a combined 48 outings. Not for the first time in the marketplace, Inter messed up.