x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

City wait in the wings as Eto'o ponders next move

Samuel Eto'o would be "delighted" to join Manchester City if he cannot resolve his differences with Barcelona.

Samuel Eto'o is involved in a tug of war between Barcelona and Manchester City.
Samuel Eto'o is involved in a tug of war between Barcelona and Manchester City.

Samuel Eto'o would be "delighted" to join Manchester City if he cannot resolve his differences with Barcelona. A move to the ambitious English Premier League club, owned by Sheikh Mansour, still remains a possibility as the striker mulls his future options.

City are keen on Eto'o and the player's agent Josep Maria Mesalles, yesterday revealed that mixed messages from Barcelona had left the Cameroon international uncertain. After being told Eto'o, who has one year left on his contract, could leave this summer, the European champions have now offered a two-year contract extension to keep him at the Camp Nou until 2012. But Mesalles says he will talk to the Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola before making the next move, with City still in the frame.

"We have not sat down to speak to them [City], but they have made Barcelona an offer," he said. "In theory, he wanted to play in the Champions League, but if Manchester City have an offer accepted, we would be delighted to go there. "On June 2, the club called a meeting and I was told by [the Barcelona sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [the director of football] Raul Sanllehi that due to a technical decision, Samuel does not feature in the club's plans next season.

"We then had another meeting and I was told once again that Samuel was not in their plans for next season. "Guardiola said at the end of the season that he was delighted with Samuel, so I don't know what has changed. "We need to find out what the coach wants, because he is the one who ultimately decides. I don't know if everything changed in the space of an afternoon, I don't know if they really want Samuel to stay or if they just want to make money out of him.

"He would be delighted to stay if they want him and we will study their offer if it is serious, but if they don't want him we will do all we can to help Samuel find a new club." City, however, are thought to be close to signing Carlos Tevez. The Argentina star's contract with Manchester United expired yesterday and he is now free to sign for a new club. Two of the Premier League's newcomers have moved to strengthen their squads for the forthcoming campaign.

Wolves have splashed out a club record £6.5million (Dhs 39.5m) for the Reading striker Kevin Doyle. The Ireland international is hoping Mick McCarthy's side can show they are not relegation fodder , just as Reading did during their first season in the top flight. "We finished a point or maybe even a goal away from Europe when we went up with Reading," said Doyle. "I don't know why we did so well, but we all went in there wide-eyed and excited and fresh to play and that got us through. It was a bit like it is with Wolves now in that none of us had played in the Premier League before."

Burnley are also set to boost their strikeforce having agreed an undisclosed deal with Hibernian for the Scotland frontman Steven Fletcher. While he was discussing terms last night, the Clarets have completed one signing with the £500,000 arrival of the Derby defender Tyrone Mears. Owen Coyle, the Burnley manager, said: "He is a player with real pace and we have been looking for that in the full-back areas. He is hungry, still relatively young and desperate to do well.

"He was on loan at Marseille last year and did terrifically well; so much so that they wanted to sign him permanently. "Fortunately, he wanted to be back in England and we know he will do well here. He wants to show everyone he is a Premier League player. At Turf Moor he will get the opportunity." akhan@thenational.ae